(Reuters) - British retailer Sports Direct <SPD.L> and New York City-based Modell's Sporting Goods are in talks for a potential deal to buy as many as 200 stores of bankrupt retailer Sports Authority, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the situation.

Bids for the sporting goods retailer's store leases are due on Thursday, the Journal said. (http://on.wsj.com/28K7uTq)

Sports Authority filed for Chapter 11 protection in early March in the face of growing online competition, touching off a scramble to close weaker stores and find a buyer.

Sports Direct, Modell's Sporting Goods and Sports Authority were not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru; Editing by Alan Crosby)