Dick’s Sporting Goods is evolving into a tech company

For the past few years, Dick’s Sporting Goods has been in survival mode.

Competitors like Sports Authority have gone out of business, online sellers like Amazon continue to eat into sales, and Dick’s own suppliers are now selling direct-to-consumers online.

In many ways, Dick’s is like Barnes & Noble — a company that’s managed to outlast its competitors, but still finds itself struggling to stay afloat in a failing industry.

Which is why they’ve decided to change course…

Surviving is cool, but evolving is cooler. And that’s exactly what Dick’s is doing.

Footballs and tennis rackets? That’s in the past. Now their focus is on digital. More specifically, becoming the preeminent youth sports tech company.

Here’s how they’re doing it

Over the course of 2016, Dick’s has been building up its suite of digital products for youth sports, which it calls Dick’s Team Sports HQ.

To help in that effort, they’ve acquired Blue Sombrero (youth sports league gear) and Affinity Sports (league registration software).

And just this month, they made 2 more big announcements:

First, a deal to make Dick’s Team Sports HQ the official technology platform of Little League Baseball and Softball. That’s 3.4 million players (plus their coaches) using Dick’s technology.

Second, they acquired GameChanger, a company that tracks scores and statistics for youth leagues, as well as creating game stories so relatives and friends can check in on little Timmy’s at-bat.

Will this evolution save the company? Maybe, maybe not. I’m just happy I don’t have to write the word “dick” anymore.

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