Economist, executive hopeful others will fill Sports Authority void |

Economist, executive hopeful others will fill Sports Authority void

— A local economist and a ski shop executive are hopeful retailers will be able to fill the void left when Sports Authority closes its doors in Steamboat Springs.

This week, Sports Authority announced it was closing all its stores, including the one in Wildhorse Marketplace that has been in business since December 2004. After liquidation sales, Sports Authority expects to close its stores in August.

“I think the saddest part of their departure is the people they employed,” said Bob Dapper, a Steamboat resident who oversees more than 40 Christy Sports stores as the director of mountain operations.

Dapper said Christy Sports has been watching Sports Authority carefully the past several years.

“They are a different form of competition,” Dapper said. “They’re not a specialty ski retailer, and most of the stores in Steamboat are specialty ski retailers. They are a big box concept.”

He said quite a bit of Sports Authority revenue and market share will be distributed to other stores in Steamboat.

“I’m not sure what kind of void or how much of a void they will leave,” Dapper said. “I think this creates opportunities for people.”

In an athletic community such as Steamboat, sporting goods is big business.

According to city sales tax data, Steamboat’s sporting good revenue was $31.5 million in 2015. The city collected nearly $1.5 million in sporting goods sales tax revenue the same year, accounting for nearly 7 percent of the total sales tax revenue the city collected in 2015.

Local economist and city council member Scott Ford does not foresee a significant economic loss with Sports Authority’s departure.

“People will still buy stuff,” Ford said. “I think they’ll just buy more where they buy it.”

He said other local sporting goods businesses will respond if they see an opportunity. He does not predict a significant increase in online shopping from Steamboat consumers, and he does not think leakage will increase substantially.

Leakage is an economic term used to describe a situation in which consumers buy goods outside their communities.

“Staples (closing) probably had a bigger impact,” Ford said. “Did Sports Authority plug an economic leak? Maybe, but not as much as Staples.”

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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