Retail giant Sporting Life has launched its latest national banner, Team Town Sports, with its first store at CF Market Mall.
A second store is opening soon in southeast Calgary at the Heritage Mall near the Costco and a third store is set to open in August in the Meadowvale Town Centre in Mississauga.
Frederick Lecoq, Chief Marketing Officer / Chief Digital Officer at Sporting Life Group, said plans are to take the new brand coast to coast eventually opening about 25 stores in major cities.
“The concept is all team sports under one roof,” said Lecoq. “That’s the starting point and we’re really focusing on team sports activities. It’s not sports lifestyle. If you’re a hockey player, a soccer player, a rugby player, a football player, name it all. Baseball, basketball, soccer, cricket, lacrosse. Every sports or activity that you participate in as a team you’re going to find your gear here.
“We’re men and women. We’re carrying both . . . If it’s your uniform, it’s your store.”
The first store is about 25,000 square feet. The second store in Calgary will be about 35,000 square feet and the Meadowvale location will be about 30,000 square feet.
Lecoq said the launch was in Calgary because of the real estate opportunity.
“We know the market pretty well because we’re originally from Calgary (leadership team that includes (Lecoq and Chad McKinnon, President, Sporting Life Group). It was a pure real estate opportunity,” he said.
“There was a great real estate location available and we had to make a really quick decision. We know the market, we know the city plus premium real estate was available. So this location in Market Mall and the other one in Heritage, close to Costco, it was the former Home Outfitters location. It’s interesting. We’re from Calgary and we thought with the real estate available we’re opening with those two locations.”
Both Lecoq and McKinnon had previously worked with FGL Sports.
“We want to focus on that white space,” said Lecoq. “People could argue that we have a lot of sports retail in Canada. People are just super active in sports. It’s just incredible this country.
“There was a banner in Ontario that was called National Sports that was owned by Canadian Tire. They shut it down and National Sports in Ontario was actually a team sports retailer. That was their positioning. It left a blank space. If you look at today, the market, there’s a lot of sports lifestyle retailers. They can be some vertical experts like we are for Golf Town.
“Team sports is overall I would say being under served. Not served like it used to be. In all fairness, there’s some independents that are doing a really good job. Let’s be clear. The only issue I would flag here is they’re single sports. So you could have a good independent for soccer in one city or hockey in another city. But it’s not everything under one roof. The reason why we did this is because there’s this blank space and team sports are being under served . . . There’s tons of sports that our kids are participating in today that people struggle to find the right equipment and moreover if you’re a girl. That was also our angle to make sure we had it all under one roof for everyone no matter what your gender is and no matter what team sports you participate in.”
In a previous Retail Insider story, 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.