Sports Authority to stock Wiis, fitness games

Retailer will begin stocking consoles and exer-games including Wii Fit, Jillian Michaels' Fitness Ultimatum, and others; dedicated EA Sports Active outlets also spotted.

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With the Wii's momentum rapidly evaporating, Nintendo is looking at new ways to market its console to the so-called "Blue Ocean" of non-gamers. According to the Wall Street Journal, tomorrow the Japanese game giant will announce a partnership with the Sports Authority chain of athletic retailers. Starting next spring, the 450-store chain will begin offering Wii consoles along with Nintendo's Wii Fit Plus alongside the weights, treadmills, and other real-world workout equipment it usually offers.

Future home of a Wii fitness-game section.
Future home of a Wii fitness-game section.

The Sports Authority reportedly took six months to negotiate the deal with Nintendo, but company president David Campisi told the Journal the effort was worth it. Said the executive, "It's taken us a long time to get to the finish line, but what we came up with was the idea to not just launch a product, because it's not a new product, but to view the Wii Fit Plus as an opportunity to shift the paradigm and shake up the treadmill and sporting-goods business."

Despite the deal with Nintendo, the Sports Authority won't offer first-party games exclusively. Other titles it will stock include Jillian Michaels' Fitness Ultimatum 2010, with the titular trainer and Biggest Loser host being on hand tomorrow to cohost the announcement event in Los Angeles. Select Sports Authorities will also reportedly have their own Wii Fit trainers on hand to show potential purchasers how to play the game.

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