LOS ANGELES — The Sports Authority is said to be shopping for a new ad agency for its $80 million creative account.

Sources said the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based sporting goods retailer has contacted several ad agencies in a call for portfolios and potential client conflicts. Nearly 20 firms are said to be up for the assignment, with consideration going to national agencies with broader experience.

Sports Authority’s current creative agency is WestWayne Inc., headquartered in Atlanta with satellite offices in Tampa, Fla. A WestWayne spokesman declined to comment.

The word of an agency change follows the news that The Sports Authority, a 205-store chain, plans to merge with its number-two competitor, Denver-based Gart Sports, with 183 stores.

The firm is said to be reviewing its relationships with various creative and marketing agencies, and plans to secure a new ad agency by October with the duty of branding all Gart Sports stores under The Sports Authority label. The company is also in the process of moving its headquarters to Englewood, Colo., to effectively carry out the merger.

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