Cliff Freeman Prevails for Sports Authority

NEW YORK Sports Authority has awarded creative and media planning chores on it ad account to independent Cliff Freeman and Partners following a review, the client said.

The New York agency competed against Heil-Brice Retail Advertising in Newport Beach, Calif.; Ziccardi Partners Frierson Mee in New York and SBC Advertising in Columbus, Ohio. Estimated billings are $80 million.

In November, the incumbent, WestWayne in Tampa, Fla., said it withdrew from the review, citing executive changes at Sports Authority and the client’s relocation from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Englewood, Colo., [Adweek, Nov. 24]. The client recently merged with Gart Sports.

According to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, Sports Authority in 2002 spent $10 million on newspaper ads, compared with $500,000 on TV and radio. Gart, which owns Sportmart and Oshman’s, spent nearly $70 million on advertising in 2002, most of it in newspapers.

The client did not comment on media spending. Media buying duties are handled by Kelley, Scott & Madison in Chicago, and are believed to be unaffected by the hiring of Cliff Freeman.

In a statement, Sports Authority senior vice president of marketing and advertising Terry Maloy said, “We selected Cliff Freeman and Partners because they presented the total package. They incorporated comprehensive strategic ideas along with great advertising initiatives and creative. We are excited to be partnering with Cliff Freeman on our rebranding effort.”

The agency is expected to produce a campaign that will include broadcast, print, in-store efforts and promotions.