Modell's Sporting Goods

Modell's Sporting Goods was an American sporting goods retailer with locations in the Northeastern United States. Modell's carried both sporting goods and related apparel. Modell's had more than 150 retail locations in ten states and the District of Columbia in 2018.[2][3] The company reported revenue of approximately $765 million in 2015.[1] Sales in 2019 were $538 million, 96%/4% split between retail/online.[4] Its slogan was "Gotta Go To Mo's."

Modell's Sporting Goods
Founded1889; 132 years ago (1889) in New York City, New York, United States
FounderMorris Modell
DefunctAugust 30, 2020 (2020-08-30) (physical retail stores)
FateChapter 11 bankruptcy
Liquidation sale; relaunch as e-commerce site under new ownership
New York City, New York
United States
Number of locations
134 (2020)
Area served
Northeastern United States
Key people
Mitchell Modell, CEO
Eric Spiel, CFO (prior to 2020)
ProductsSports apparel, Sporting goods, Footwear, Licensed goods
BrandsMajestic Athletic, Nike, Reebok, etc.
ServicesSporting apparel, Licensed sports gear of the MLB, NHL, NBA, and NFL
RevenueUS$765 million[1] (2008)
OwnerRetail ECommerce Ventures

Modell’s filed for bankruptcy protection in 2020 and the company eventually resorted to liquidating its remaining 134 store locations. In August of 2020, Modell’s was relaunched as an online retailer by a company called Retail Ecommerce Ventures, which bought the rights to several other retail brands that were recently disestablished.[5]


The chain was founded as a single store by Morris A. Modell in 1889 in Manhattan, making it possibly the third oldest sporting goods store in North America (after James F. Brine's in Massachusetts and Milwaukee's Burghardt Sporting Goods).[6] Modell, a Jewish immigrant from Hungary, opened the first location on Cortlandt Street in Lower Manhattan.[3] (The Modell pawn shop chain in Manhattan and Brooklyn was founded by Morris's brother George in 1893 as a spinoff. The two companies operate separately.)

Through the years, it has remained a family-owned business, passing through four generations of the Modell family. While best known as a sporting goods retailer, Modell's also operated a chain of "full-line" discount retailers in the New York-metro area known as "Modell's Shopper's World" (and for a short time as "White-Modells") from the mid-1950s up until 1989, when the company decided to focus on its sporting goods operations partly due to increased competition in the discount retail market.[7]

William Modell, who became chairman in 1985, also founded the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation along with his wife, Shelby Modell.[8]

Modell's operated 152 stores at its peak[3] mainly in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. In recent years,[when?] the chain expanded to Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia as well as Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Their flagship store was at 234 West 42nd Street near Times Square.

CEO Mitchell Modell was featured on an episode of Undercover Boss that aired on November 2, 2012.[9] In 2014, a lawsuit by rival Dick's Sporting Goods accused Modell's CEO of going undercover in their stores to gain access to their retail secrets.[9]

In the early 21st century, Modell's faced declining sales which Mitchell Modell has blamed on increased competition, poor performance by professional sports teams, and increased temperatures caused by climate change. In May 2019, Modell lent the company $6.7 million to avoid bankruptcy; in February 2020 the company announced that it intended to close 24 stores.[10][11] However, in March 2020, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and announced that it would liquidate its 134 remaining stores, with Tiger Capital being appointed as the liquidator.[12][13] The liquidation began on March 13, 2020.[14] All their stores were closed by the end of August 2020.[15]

Modell's sporting goods store in the Upper East Side, New York City

Hilco Streambank announced that on August 4, 2020, it would auction Modell's intellectual property, including customer data and the marketing jingle.[4] Hilco Streambank also placed the stalking horse bid at $1.965 million. Modell's was acquired by Retail Ecommerce Ventures (REV), a holding company founded by Alex Mehr and Tai Lopez, for $3.64 million. The acquisition, finalized on August 14, 2020, includes the brand name, trademarks, domain name, and the "Gotta Go To Mo's" jingle. The Modell's website relaunched in 2020. [16]

Local sports affiliationsEdit

Modell's had local specialized offerings and programs such as Team Weeks, which assists local schools, leagues, and non-profit organizations. Modell's sponsored many professional sports teams in their U.S. East Coast market area, including the Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore Ravens, Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, New York Mets, New York Yankees, New York Giants, New York Jets, New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia Eagles, Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals, Washington Nationals, as well as numerous minor league baseball teams.

Some writers attributed at least some of Modell's problems during the 2010s due to the poor performance of New York sports teams in that decade, and the difficulty in selling their merchandise.[17][18]


  1. ^ a b Lieber, Chavie (May 18, 2016). "What the Hell Happened to Sports Authority". Racked. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  2. ^ "About Us | Modell's Sporting Goods". Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Hevesi, Dennis (2008-02-15). "William D. Modell, Seller of Sporting Goods, Is Dead at 86". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-07. William D. Modell, who as chairman of the Modell's Sporting Goods chain oversaw its expansion throughout much of the Northeast, died Thursday in Manhattan. He was 86 and lived in Hewlett Harbor, N.Y.
  4. ^ a b "Acquisition Opportunities/ Modell's". Hilco Streambank. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  5. ^ Verdon, Joan. "The Name Game: Why Tai Lopez And Alex Mehr Bought Modell's And Other Retail Brands". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  6. ^ Hajewski, Doris (2006-08-27). "Burghardt's takes team approach as it passes ball down the line". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2008-03-07.
  7. ^ "SGB 2016 Retail Top 100: The List | SGB Media Online". Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  8. ^ "Crohn's & Colitis Foundation". Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  9. ^ a b ABC News. "Dick's Sporting Goods Accuses Rival Modell's of Spying". ABC News.
  10. ^ Doherty, Katherine (February 15, 2020). "Modell's Struggles to Keep Family Sporting-Goods Empire Alive". Bloomberg. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  11. ^ Connor, Frank (22 February 2020). "Sporting goods retailer Modell's to close 24 stores: CEO". Fox Business. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  12. ^ D'Innocenzio, Anne (11 March 2020). "Sporting Goods Chain Modell's to Close Its Remaining Stores". U.S. News & World Report. Associated Press. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  13. ^ Biswas, Soma (11 March 2020). "Modell's Files for Bankruptcy, Plans to Close Down All Stores". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  14. ^ "Sporting goods chain Modell's files for bankruptcy, will close its remaining stores". ABC7 New York. 2020-03-11. Retrieved 2020-03-12.
  15. ^ "Modell's Sporting Goods". Facebook. Retrieved 2020-09-02. SELLING TO THE BARE WALLS!! THIS IS IT! THE LAST DAY![dead link]
  16. ^ Verdon, Joan. "The Name Game: Why Tai Lopez And Alex Mehr Bought Modell's And Other Retail Brands". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  17. ^ Vigdor, Neil (2020-03-12). "Modell's Sporting Goods to Close All Stores After Bankruptcy Filing". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-06-08.
  18. ^ Barry, Dan (2019-12-30). "The Lost Decade of New York Sports". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-06-08.

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