Dick’s WNBA deal continues chain’s push to win over women and girls

Discussion
Photo: Dick’s Sporting Goods
Sep 23, 2021

Dick’s Sporting Goods has been named as the Official Sporting Goods Retail Partner of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) beginning in 2021.

The multiyear agreement is intended to enable the two parties to combine their resources and celebrity to promote women’s sports, youth participation and player development. The WNBA and Dick’s have agreed to work together to develop initiatives to connect with female athletes of all ages and skill levels and increase the visibility of the league and its players across the country.

The deal will make Dick’s the largest national retailer for WNBA merchandise. The chain will carry a selection of authentic apparel and equipment, including newly developed Nike jerseys for every team. Dick’s will stock Wilson WNBA basketballs, t-shirts and WNBA logo hoodies in all 12 markets where teams play as well as select locations throughout the U.S. All merchandise will be sold on Dick’s site.

“The WNBA is a premier example of how sport can define leaders and celebrate the current and next generation of female athletes,” Lauren Hobart, Dick’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Today marks an important next step in our journey to support female athletes, and we look forward to collaborating with the W to provide opportunities for people of all ages to engage and connect with women’s basketball, the league and its players.”

Dick’s has made connecting with female consumers a major element of its marketing push. During the Olympic Games held this summer, the chain ran commercials with the theme from Miss America serving as the soundtrack but with imagery featuring females preparing for various sports by applying blackeye to reduce glare or taping fingers ahead of a boxing match.

The chain, in March, ran spots featuring women from its executive ranks interacting with their children as they engaged in youth sports.

“While the campaign focuses on several of the women on our leadership team, I can tell you that our entire company is all in on supporting girls and women in all walks of life,” said Ms. Hobart at the time. “Along with our partners, we will work tirelessly to ensure that we have the products and programs that speak to current and future female athletes.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What will Dick’s deal with the WNBA mean for the sporting goods chain along with its other female-focused initiatives? Will programs such as this not only help Dick’s compete with rival sporting goods retailers but also those that focus more on apparel and footwear rather than equipment?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Dick's partnering with the WNBA is a great move for the retailer and will set them apart from their competition. The message is clear and it's relevant. "
"It seems inevitable that some activist will look at Dick’s hiring, promotion, benefit, and pay parity positions."
"I can’t help but think that this feels a little opportunistic based on the momentum caused by the #MeToo movement. Where was Dick’s 10 years ago?"

Join the Discussion!

13 Comments on "Dick’s WNBA deal continues chain’s push to win over women and girls"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

This partnership will be a big boost for the WNBA, and it won’t hurt Dick’s great results either. This partnership sends a strong message to female athletes — in all sports — that Dick’s is the place for them and I believe this will ultimately translate into sales results.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

Correct on all counts. Notwithstanding the fact that there are many women involved in a variety of sports in general, and at many levels of competency, I can see that women in sports have been underrepresented in the sporting goods stores. This is the beginning of the end of that void. Women are increasingly participating and distinguishing themselves in sports so this is a growing market, and Dick’s move is not a mere gesture. It is a commitment and a sound business decision.

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

Kudos to Dick’s for promoting the WNBA. Having fans see product in their stores and see the support Dick’s is providing for the league should be applauded. I think they will benefit as more amateur athletes who want to support women’s sports shop at Dick’s.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

Brilliant! You could see this one coming from the promotions last summer. Bravo!

Jenn McMillen
BrainTrust

Better late than never! I can’t help but think that this feels a little opportunistic based on the momentum caused by the #MeToo movement. Where was Dick’s 10 years ago?

George Anderson
Staff
As you say, better late than never. The cynic in me says that the answer could be as simple as Dick’s currently having a female CEO when it did not 10 years ago. I don’t think it’s as simple as that, however, since over the years the chain has consistently sought to grow its business wherever it saw opportunities to do so. The upside of the female sports market has been clear since at least 1972 when Title 9 went into effect for NCAA sports. That year there were only 30,000 female athletes participating in college sports compared to 170,000 males. Participation in sports from grade school to college and the pros has steadily risen in the decades since. There’s no doubt that #MeToo has changed the thinking of both men and women in society and female representation in Dick’s executive suite is a model for others to follow. Recent trends showing more women going to college and earning bachelors and advanced degrees than men augurs a future where female representation at the top of… Read more »
Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

This is an opportunistic business decision that works on every level. It is opportunistic because the WNBA has reached a critical mass of interests to make it work. Business is business, not charity. Having said that, I believe all the good promoted in today’s discussion will come to pass. This is the perfect tie-in at the perfect time.

Liza Amlani
BrainTrust

Dick’s partnering with the WNBA is a great move for the retailer and will set them apart from their competition. The message is clear and it’s relevant.

Supporting girls and women, especially in sports, will help build a better and deeper relationship with the Dick’s customer and will reach new customer segments.

It makes me want to shop at Dick’s and I absolutely love this.

Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

“It makes me want to shop at Dick’s…” — Liza, your reaction is exactly the reaction Dick’s is hoping for. And like you, I agree that it will encourage more female athletes to shop Dick’s. The fact that they have a female CEO also sends a strong, positive message.

Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

Well done and here’s to continued investment and progress! I suspect this initiative will bring significantly more women and more girls to the DSG brand, and I look forward to seeing how they will continue to nurture the relationship with those customers.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

The WNBA deal fits in nicely with the other initiatives. There is a major caveat though. It seems inevitable that some activist will look at Dick’s hiring, promotion, benefit, and pay parity positions. If those are found to be inequitable and/or gender-biased in favor of men then this move will look calculated, cynical, and exploitative. If on the other hand those policies stand up to tough scrutiny this is a great move, albeit a few decades overdue. And, yes, this should position Dick’s to be more competitive and expand their offerings.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust
Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

Excellent move by Dick’s. We need retailers to continue to endorse these leagues and offer product to customers from the leagues. Customers will start wearing league gear more when it is more widely available — and that small step can help do some excellent things in the world. Besides, I suspect there’s a nice profit in there for Dick’s — even if it’s not nearly as large as the NFL or NBA profit it is worth pursuing.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Dick's partnering with the WNBA is a great move for the retailer and will set them apart from their competition. The message is clear and it's relevant. "
"It seems inevitable that some activist will look at Dick’s hiring, promotion, benefit, and pay parity positions."
"I can’t help but think that this feels a little opportunistic based on the momentum caused by the #MeToo movement. Where was Dick’s 10 years ago?"

Take Our Instant Poll

What grade would you give Dick’s Sporting Goods for its outreach campaign to female consumers?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...