The company that was routinely touted as a huge success by failed 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is now selling all of its assets and closing all of its stores by August.
All the assets of Romney’s success, Sports Authority, are being dissolved. For example, a court has has just released the NFL’s Denver Broncos team from a sponsorship contract with the company. That decision still leaves unresolved the company’s right to name the Denver Broncos’ home stadium. As part of the bankruptcy, the company is trying to sell the naming rights to “Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium” where the Broncos play their home games.
In 2012, Romney regularly cited Sports Authority as an example of his business acumen. In his race against President Barack Obama, Romney portrayed himself as a “turn-around artist” by citing Sports Authority and office-supply retailer Staples as companies he had “saved” during his time at Bain Capital.
In 1987, Romney’s company, Bain Capital, was one of several minority investors who fueled the Sports Authority chain. The company grew grew to nine stores by 1990, and expanded to employ almost 14,000 employees in 1998. Since then, it has declined amid competition from other sports stores and from online competition. Romney left Bain Capital in 1999. Sports Authority merged with Gart Sports in 2003 to become the nation’s larges sporting goods retailer.
Romney’s role through Bain Capital was regularly highlighted as a success for the former Massachusetts Governor. “In his early years at Bain, Romney helped make deals like the $5 million investment sunk into Staples in the 1980s — buying a minority stake that ultimately made Bain $13 million when the office-supply store went public in 1989,” the Washington Post wrote back in 2012. “Bain was also among a handful of venture-capital firms that helped found the Sports Authority through another minority stakeholder investment.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, another sporting goods retailer, Modell’s, is in talks with Sports Authority to buy as many as 200 of the closed stores.
The company’s stores are gradually increasing their discounts until everything is sold. For instance, the store in Reno, Nevada, has discounts at 10 to 20 percent whereas the store in Redding, California, is discounting goods at up to 70 to 90 percent.