“By making it a place where all customers can access the equipment they need to play and train for the team sports they love, Team Town Sports represents the reinvention of the sports retail experience,” said Chad McKinnon, President, Sporting Life Group. “Our goal is to meet the needs of a diverse Canadian population with a model that feels welcoming and inclusive. Our latest concept will feature all team sports under one roof, allowing us to connect with our customers through a shared passion for sports.
“It’s really about a couple of things. One is the white space in the market today. There’s a real opening for a premium sports offering to all Canadian athletes across team sports. Lots of good independents do things for sports individually but nobody’s really rolled it up under one roof, under one big box for everything for team sports. And we want to be good, better, best in our assortment. We’ve been very welcoming and inviting to Canadians. Super inclusive since day one. So we’ve had a very strong female component to what we’re doing and it also complements what we’re building strategically with the Sporting Life Group in terms of our village.
“It complements Golf Town. It complements Sporting Life. Because there’s very little crossover between the assortment. So super complementary to what we’re already doing very well today.”
The first Team Town Sports locations will open in May:
- CF Market Mall, Calgary, (opening May 11th) – 3412 49th St. NW, and about 26,000 square feet;
- Heritage Mall, Calgary, (opening May 24th) – 33 Heritage Gate SE, and about 34,000 square feet;
- Meadowvale Town Centre, Mississauga, (opening July 24th) – 3135 Argentia Rd, and about 30,000 square feet.
McKinnon said the rollout will be from coast to coast with a short-term focus on the Ontario market.
“A big start in Calgary for us because we have two pieces of great real estate and we just couldn’t turn it down. We signed two deals in Calgary and we’re super happy with that. We will be coast to coast. You’ll have access to us anywhere,” he said.
“Only 25, so you’re going to see large drive radiuses, very similar to what IKEA or Bass Pro Shops would have or even our Golf Town model is highly successful for us. People driving long distances to come visit us.”
In a news release, the Sporting Life Group said Team Town Sports will offer all Canadians an inclusive and elevated sports retail experience to service their team sports needs.
“From hockey, basketball, soccer, and baseball, and all sports in between, Team Town Sports joins the Sporting Life and Golf Town banners, marking an epic introduction to the underserved team sports arena within the Canadian consumer landscape. Set to open locations across key Canadian markets in spring 2023, the store openings will be complemented with a best-in-class e-commerce platform, representing the latest step in the Sporting Life Group’s journey to elevating the ordinary and delivering an impactful retail experience to Canadians nationwide,” said the retailer.
“Following its launch of three initial locations, Team Town Sports is poised to continue its expansion across Canada. The banner’s introduction reflects the next stage of growth and opportunity for the Sporting Life Group and the communities in which these locations serve. Planned expansion for Team Town Sports will result in an estimated 25 locations coast-to-coast, creating between 2,000 and 2,200 new jobs for all Canadians.”
McKinnon said individual sports exploded during COVID.
“We had record years in Golf Town. Even beat our numbers from when we had 60 plus stores. We’re only at 47 today . . . People found things to do that were safe with COVID so we benefited from that,” said McKinnon.
“Now I think there’s a full return to team sports and a lot of young kids were denied playing sports. Lots of pent-up demand and Canada is a sports nation. I think it continues. COVID really slowed team sports down. It’s ready to come back now so our timing is good.”
The Sporting Life Group operates three Canadian retail banners, Golf Town Ltd., Sporting Life Inc. and Team Town Sports. There are 47 Golf Town locations in Canada and 14 Sporting Life locations.
“Contemporary and inviting design meets a high-service model that embodies the principle of full, end-to-end service. The ethos of inclusivity will run deep at Team Town Sports and will be best reflected in the staff that bring product expertise and passion for sports to consumers, as well as the categories of products available to them. Shoppers will find the ultimate product assortment across all team sports, genders, and ages, including Kids’ Kingdom, a dedicated section of each store that will cater to the youth sports segment, providing a memorable experience as they begin their team sports journey. Team Town Sports will also offer the widest and most prominent product assortment for female athletes, a historically underserved customer base in the Canadian sports retailing market, with a wide range of the best equipment for all team sports,” said the retailer.
“Enthusiasts and professionals across a wealth of sports including hockey, soccer, baseball/softball, basketball, volleyball, cricket, curling, lacrosse, football, rugby, and ringette will be able to find everything they need for all team sports under one roof. Team Town Sports is proud to offer the latest in simulation technology, deep service expertise, and custom fitting for equipment, making it the premier destination for Canadians at all levels of sport and skill level.”
Bruce Winder, author of RETAIL Before, During & After COVID-19 and President, Bruce Winder Retail, said it is interesting and unusual for a chain to launch a new banner just before a potential recession.
He said the concept sounds exciting based on the perceived experiential store imagery that the retailer is describing.
“The Canadian sporting goods market is crowded with Canadian Tire and its many banners (Sportchek, Sports Experts, Canadian Tire, Pro Hockey Life & Trio Hockey) along with new entrants such as Decathlon and strong independents. However, there could be an open niche within the team sports segment of the business at the high end that is underserved – especially outside of hockey,” he said.
“I find it odd that two of the three initial stores are in Calgary. Why not test in the greater Vancouver area as well? Either way, increased competition is always good and is something we desperately need in Canada across many industries. Can’t wait to learn more.”