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Industry Buzz

Industry Buzz: The Biggest News Stories of 2015


I honestly can’t believe another year has gone by. It seems like just yesterday Club Solutions was finalizing the re-design of the magazine, which we launched in January 2015. Now, we’re prepping for another series of exciting developments, which we will roll out over the course of 2016. Hint: A new Signature Issue may be hitting your mailboxes!

But before we move on to another year, I’d like to take a second to highlight the biggest news stories of 2015. Take a look at some of the updates that impacted the health and fitness market.

January 2015: Snap Fitness Unveiled Brand Update Initiative

According to Snap Fitness, the goal for the remodel was to provide franchisees and members with a new look and feel, without compromising the quality workout experience the brand is known for.

Later in 2015, Snap Fitness also expanded into Spain, signed four new master franchise agreements in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Georgia, and joined forces with CMA New Artist of the Year nominee Thomas Rhett.

February: Genesis Health Clubs Acquired Max Fitness

Genesis Health Clubs purchased both Max Fitness locations in Manhattan, Kansas, raising its operation number to 20 clubs throughout Kansas and Missouri. In March 2015, it purchased Midtown Athletic Club in Overland Park, Kansas. The company grew from 13 locations to 21 in just under a year.

In addition, Genesis Health Clubs acquired the Jayhawk Tennis Center in West Lawrence, Kansas. As a result, the Genesis Health Club on Iowa Street closed, which was a temporary location.

March: Life Time Fitness Entered a $4 Billion Merger Agreement

Life Time Fitness, Inc. entered into a definitive merger agreement under which affiliates of Leonard Green & Partners and TPG acquired Life Time Fitness. The transaction was valued at more than $4 billion. In June 2015, the acquisition was finalized.

April: The Bay Club Acquired Spectrum Athletic Clubs

In April 2015, The Bay Club Company announced the acquisition of Spectrum Athletic Clubs 11 locations, marking the company’s entry into the Los Angeles area. With the acquisition of Spectrum, The Bay Club Company grew to 23 locations across 10 California campuses.

May: Attendees of the CS Leadership Summit at The Kentucky Derby Witnessed a History-making Moment

Okay, I may be slightly biased here, but the 2015 Club Solutions Leadership Summit was a big news story for one reason: Attendees witnessed American Pharoah make history, winning his first race on the road to the Triple Crown, at The Kentucky Derby. In addition to the Triple Crown, American Pharoah won the Breeder’s Cup Classic, making him the first horse to win the “Grand Slam” of American horse racing.

June: TSI Announced the Departure of its CEO

In June 2015, Town Sports International Holdings (TSI) announced that the company’s president and CEO, Dan Gallagher, would be leaving the company, effective June 19.

Patrick Walsh, the chairman of the board of directors, served as executive chairman while the board conducted a search for Gallagher’s successor. In August 2015, TSI announced the appointment of Gregory Bartoli as COO, effective August 19.

July: Active Sports Clubs Created Wellness Division, Partnered with St. Joseph Health

This year Active Sports Clubs partnered with St. Joseph Health (SJH) to develop new models for health, wellness and illness prevention in both the work and residential setting. Under Active Wellness, the club announced a mission to make health and wellness more accessible than ever.

Active Wellness, which was founded as a subsidiary of Active Acquisition Partners in June 2015, operates the Active Sports Clubs, as well as more than 45 corporate, residential, medical and community fitness centers across the country.

August: GoodLife Fitness Opened in Every Province in Canada

In August 2015, GoodLife Fitness reached a big milestone, announcing plans to open its first club in Prince Edward Island. This made GoodLife Fitness the first Canadian-owned and operated company with locations in every province in Canada. The fitness club chain plans to add another 60 GoodLife Fitness and Fit4Less by GoodLife locations across the country in 2016 and 2017.

October: 24 Hour Fitness Launched New Programming, New Roles for Leadership

2015 was a big year for 24 Hour Fitness. It announced additional strategic responsibilities for a few members of its leadership team. Among these changes included an expanded role for Lashaun Dale, who took on the role of vice president for content and programming.

In September, GoodLife Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness joined forces to offer their members access to each other’s clubs when traveling in North America. And in March, the company launched a free digital magazine for members called 24LIFE.

November: Anytime Fitness Opened its 3,000th Gym

Anytime Fitness celebrated the opening of its 3,000th gym at a ceremony in Stroud, England, while also announcing new agreements to open gyms in Sweden and Italy, along with the opening of the company’s 100th gym in Japan.

By the end of 2016, the company expects Anytime Fitness gyms to be open in nearly 30 countries.

December: Geoff Dyer Moved to Crunch Franchise

In December, Geoff Dyer, the founder of Lifestyle Family Fitness and AussieFit, announced a move to Crunch. Dyer sold his nine Lifestyle Family Fitness clubs to LA Fitness in 2012. On December 1, 2015, he closed the deal to sell his two AussieFit clubs to Crunch Franchise’s Ohio developer. Dyer is now a partner in Crunch West Florida and Atlanta.

These are just a few highlights from last year. What did I miss? What were the biggest news stories in your opinion?


Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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