Why Dick's Sporting Goods is Investing in Sports Technology
Originally founded in 1948, Dick’s Sporting Goods has been an industry giant in both the sporting goods and the retail industries for most of its existence. What started as a small operation in Binghamton, New York has now ballooned to 610 stores across the United States and a coveted spot on the Fortune 500 list. In a move that is sending shockwaves across the industry, Dick’s announced that it has recently acquired the San Diego-based sport management technology firm Affinity Sports in August of 2016. In addition to showing an active interest in sports technology in general, this could be the first sign that Dick’s own future moves beyond its current position as a full-line omni-channel sporting goods retailer.
What is Affinity Sports?
Affinity Sports was founded in 2002 in an effort to offer innovative software products to sports associations all over the country. For years, the company’s major draw was its online registration package that allows nonprofit sporting organizations (particularly youth soccer leagues) to collect team member information, keep track of league standings and assign players positions within an organization.
Through its Affinity Advantage program, the company also offers a robust array of enterprise-class software solutions to organizations including fundraising tools, youth sports-specific insurance programs and online systems aimed at streamlining the collection of medical information and more.
What Dick’s Sporting Goods’ Acquisition of Affinity Means for the Future
For many, Dick’s acquisition of Affinity Sports is a clear sign that an entire industry is about to enter into the throes of transformation. While the use of technology in a sports context is nothing new, the fact that the country’s largest sports retailer is making such a heavy investment in sports technology means that it sees a future where software-powered sports management, digital member databases and even the digital management of entire sports organizations will become the “new norm.”
This tech-driven direction for sports makes perfect sense given the increasingly digital world in which we now live. According to Pew Research Center, 64% of adults in the United States owned a smartphone of some kind in 2015, up from just 35% in 2011. Pew Research also suggests that younger people, in particular, are heavily dependent on technology, meaning that the future generation of sports players and managers will grow up in an environment where things like automation and other tech-based decisions are a way of life. With its acquisition of Affinity, Dick’s seems to be taking a bold first step towards getting ready for this new tech-driven sports industry as soon as possible.
As the industry moves in a more technology-driven direction, there has never been a better time to pursue your Online Master of Science in Sport Management Degree. This degree can help people with a passion for sports not only develop and hone their skills in an area they love so much, but also get in on the ground floor of emergent technologies that the entire industry will soon be based upon.