Sports Authority: “The Sporty Style”

Story Highlights:

  • Sports Authority background story
  • Dealing with the competition
  • Why Cal Poly students dress sporty
  • Student stories

The Sports Authority Story

Since being founded in 1928, Sports Authority has been one of the largest sporting good retailers in the United States.


Sports Authority is located off of Highway 101 on Madonna Rd. in San Luis Obispo.

“I think what separates us from most sporting good stores is that we really do sell more clothing,” Sports Authority employee Daniel said, “we definitely have a wide variety of sports equipment, but most of our inventory is workout and sports related clothing.”

Sports Authority is located in a shopping center with 1 huge competitor right next door and another just a few miles down the freeway: Big 5 Sporting Goods and Dick’s Sporting Goods.


Sports Authority’s collection of clothing ranges from the most popular sports brands like Nike and Under Armour to less popular brands as well.

“Honestly I think it all comes down to what people are looking for,” employee Daniel said, “I know Big 5 usually gets more customers for people looking for equipment but if they can’t find the clothing that they’re looking for, they usually come here.”

Poly Style

At Cal Poly, the “Sporty Style” is very popular.

“For one thing, walking around this school isn’t a walk in the park,” freshman biology major Christy Joaquin said, “it’s super important to dress comfortably or else your day is not going to be fun.”

Joaquin said she dresses in sportswear almost on a daily basis.

It’s easier, it’s comfortable, and I might even be able to fool people into thinking I went to the gym,

she joked. “I’m glad they have a Sports Authority here because even though the other stores in town have sport clothes, they definitely don’t have as wide of a variety. I went there with my roommates and I was almost overwhelmed at how much they had.”

Sporty Stats

According to an informal survey of 25 Cal Poly students:

  • 17 out of 25 (68%) said Sports Authority was their go-to store for sportswear
  • 5 out of 25 (20%) said Dick’s Sporting Goods was their go-to and
  • 3 out of 25 (12%) said Big 5 Sporting Goods was their go-to.

Student Stories

Freshman biology major Brittany Nelson went to Yosemite on a PolyEscapes backpacking trip over Valentine’s Day weekend.


Freshman biology major Brittany Nelson at Yosemite National Park wearing all the clothing she bought at Sports Authority for her trip.

“I realized last minute that I brought no winter-type clothes whatsoever

to SLO,” she said, “so I needed to go buy a ton of stuff fast.”

Nelson went to Sports Authority and found everything she needed for the trip.

“I had a checklist and it took me like 20 minutes to get through it. Everything was super easy to find and I was expecting it to be really expensive but they have a lot of clearance and sales sections so I shopped there and didn’t end up spending all my money which my dad appreciates I’m sure,” Nelson said.


Nike has it’s own section in the store making it very easy to find Nike clothing if that is what the shopper is looking for.

What to Expect

Walking around the store, the clothing is separated by brand (Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Puma, etc).

After getting through all the brand named clothing, the clearance and sale racks are very noticeable and very abundant (great for college students on a budget). The clearance racks are a mixture of all types of brands.

The Finish Line

Sports Authority is one of the most popular sports clothing stores in SLO and has shown that through the amount of Cal Poly students that wear clothing from there.

Shoppers can find the brands they love at the prices they can afford at Sports Authority.


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