Dick's Sporting Goods Acquires GameChanger Media To Expand Digital Offerings

| About: Dick's Sporting (DKS)

Summary

Dick's has acquired mobile scorekeeping and gamestreaming company GameChanger for an undisclosed amount.

The acquisition will be added to its Team Sports HQ platform.

The company is offering low or no cost league administration software and services to tie in with youth sports participants, sell product and obtain real-time data.

Management is thinking ahead to appeal to the next generation of Dick's customers.

Quick Take

Dick's Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS) has announced the acquisition of GameChanger Media for an undisclosed sum.

This acquisition is an addition to Dick's two other digital service acquisitions in recent years, and indicates a continued strategy to provide low-cost or free digital services to youth sports leagues nationwide.

I expect further digital service expansion, either through covering additional sports categories or making more opportunistic acquisitions to build out the company's Team Sports HQ platform.

Target Company

New York-based GameChanger Media was founded in 2009 by CEO Ted Sullivan and COO Kiril Savino.

The 44-person company has created a mobile app and website that provides live scorekeeping functions as well as statistics for coaching insights, live gamestreams, and related content for more than 165,000 amateur sports teams and their fans.

GameChanger raised more than $10 million in institutional venture capital from major investors such as Trilogy Equity Partners, BoxGroup, Costanoa Venture Capital and Tenfore Holdings.

Acquisition Rationale

Dick's has acquired GameChanger to add to its suite of digital tools aimed at the youth, prep teams and leagues across the U.S., called Dick's Team Sports HQ.

In August of 2016, Dick's acquired Affinity Sports for an undisclosed amount.

Affinity Sports provides sports management software for registration, scheduling, and communication to national and regional governing bodies and leagues.

Earlier in 2016, DKS announced the launch of its Team Sports HQ offering to provide an 'all-in-one platform' for these main services:

  • Online league registration
  • Team/League websites
  • Custom uniforms and FanWear
  • Access to donations and sponsorships

In 2012, Dick's acquired Blue Sombrero, which had developed a youth sports site that provided free sports team websites, registration functionality and league management tools.

So, Blue Sombrero was the initial kernel of the idea for Dick's to provide digital services as a tie-in to sell additional products.

Interestingly, Dick's has not renamed its acquisitions, rather it has kept their existing trade names and simply integrated them with its platform.

Commentary

As a way to expand its digital offerings, Dick's acquisition of GameChanger is in line with its emerging digital strategy:

To provide digital services and software for free or low cost to youth sports participants and organizers. In return, the company sells additional product, increases its visibility, earns customer goodwill by providing these services and obtains real-time data on tens of thousands of participants, games, leagues and organizing bodies.

Dick's national size and reach as a sports retailer is perfectly matched with this digital initiative, and it indicates to me that management is 'on the ball' by modernizing its offerings to appeal to the next generation of product buyers.

GameChanger also brings to Dick's a 'mobile first' approach, and the expertise that comes with that knowledge may be invaluable to the company as it seeks to keep its service platform relevant to young, 'mobile first' users.

My expectation is that Dick's will continue to expand these digital service offerings by expanding its mobile capabilities, adding other sports and possibly making additional opportunistic acquisitions to continue building out its Team Sports HQ platform.

With bankrupt national sports retailer Sports Authority liquidated, the field is now largely clear for Dick's to achieve market dominance in the coming years.

In my opinion, this acquisition is a positive for Dick's stock over time, although we won't necessarily see it immediately reflected in the company's stock.


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