Sports Direct’s ‘Equal Play’ & ‘Squad’ Continue Retailer’s Rebrand As A Champion Of Equality

Sports Direct Rebrand 1

The UK retailer Sports Direct continues to roll out new work running under its fresh brand strategy and identity which reimagines what the brand stands for and seeks to change perceptions of the business focused on a new ‘equaliser’ brand mark which aims to put equality and inclusivity at the brand’s core.


The refresh was informed by the insight – derived from original consumer research – the by offering value the company enables access to sport for the many, not the few. So the new Sports Direct mission is to ‘to use the powers of sport to champion the legend in everyone’ and this is based on its belief that access to sport should be a right for everyone.


The refresh, developed in harness with brand company venturethree, introduces Sports Direct’s new vision ‘to become the world’s first destination for sport and fitness’.


The new logo mark comes with a fresh photography approach also built on accessibility, inclusivity and empowerment with images representing people of all ages, races, genders, abilities and disabilities. To ‘champion the legend in everyone’, the people in the rebrand photography appear elevated and confident.


Alongside the logo and imagery, the new positioning is promoted through a multi-channel rebrand campaign, while venturethree also worked with Sports Direct to roll out the new brand across the umbrella company experience from in-store to its employees.


The latest March campaign to run under the new brand is its ‘Equal Play Movement’ which sets out to champion women’s sport and help close the gender gap in sport which has widened further during the pandemic.


#EqualPlay is a four year programme to make sure women’s sports are see, heard and celebrated.


Alongside the rebrand, Sports Direct also launched the first creative introducing the retailer’s new ‘Squad’ in March – which it describes as a team of trail-blazing, sport-hungry individuals who will champion the legend in everyone – who are introduced via a social video which showcases what sport means to them.


According to venturethree Creative Partner Graham Jones, the idea that we are all equal through sport feels both true to who Sports Direct are today and to the business they are becoming. The objective was to create a brand that boldly makes that statement: an extroverted, super sporty brand that keeps it simple and helps people to feel empowered.


“The brand that venturethree created is built around an evolving reality of consumer needs. We now have a ‘North star’ that guides Sports Direct to deliver on our elevation strategy and stand for accessibility in sport,” commented Sports Direct Chief Marketing Offiicer Beckie Stanton. “I’m excited to show the world where the new brand takes us.”


Venturethree Strategy Director Tim Jones added: “We’ve been inspired by the ambition and innovative spirit that drives Sports Direct’s leadership team. The brand strategy channels that mindset into a purpose-led brand that will undoubtedly be at the cutting edge of retail’s future.”





This new wave of work, which follows on from Sports Direct’s first ever Christmas campaign in December 2020 called ‘Sports Starts Here’, has some parallels with rival European sports retailer Intersport’s community focused ‘Heart Of Sport’ brand positioning platform.


This move is part of the Frasers Group’s self-styled ‘elevation strategy’ and marks a significant shift for a brand previously largely seen as a value-led business.


Indeed, for the previous 30 years Sports Direct has been a staple of the British high street and one best known for low-cost sports kit.


The rebrand comes as UK high street retailers contend with the dual challenges of long-term consumer behavioural changes and the immediate implications of the Covid-19 pandemic.


Whether Sports Direct’s new ‘equaliser’ logo will be sufficiently powerful to sit alongside Nike’s swoosh and adidas’ three stripes remains to be seen.




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