9 Get to Play for Sports Authority

Retailer Stages Regional Creative Contest
ATLANTA-Sports Authority is expecting responses to questionnaires sent to nine shops seeking the creative portion of its estimated $28 million advertising account.
Client senior vice president of marketing Jeff Handler said the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., retailer “looked at over 40 tapes and credentials” before deciding to hear more from 10 candidates. Cliff Freeman and Partners in New York withdrew from the review because of a conflict, Handler said.
The nine shops are: Gold Coast Advertising, Miami; Harris Drury Cohen, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; WestWayne, Atlanta and Tampa, Fla.; The Richards Group, Dallas; Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago; Wyse Advertising, Cleveland; and DDB Needham, McCann-Erickson and DeVito/Verdi, all in New York.
Handler wants to reduce the next round to “less than five.” These shops would meet with the client “to discuss what our needs are and to get a better sense of what Sports Authority is all about and present what the game plan will be.”
Handler said he hoped to have the next round selected before Christmas, but admitted “that might be unlikely because of the holidays. It’s our busy season, and we don’t know, to be fair to all the agencies, if all the scheduling can be worked out.” There will be a final cut to two or three shops before a winner is selected in January.
One source said the creative account, which The Lord Group of New York resigned in October, is worth about $10 million.