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9Round Breaks Barriers with First Women’s-Only Location in Saudi Arabia


9Round is continuing its rapid pace of new locations and international expansions. The brand that delivers intense, 30-minute kickboxing workouts has opened its first women’s-only location in Saudi Arabia. The new branch can be found in Riyadh, the country’s capital city.

Boasting just over 3,600 square feet, with locker rooms that feature showers, hair dryers and a modern design, this new location is a significant achievement for 9Round’s goal of bringing its workout to new markets and underserved demographics all over the world.

“We’re very excited about this location,” said Shannon Hudson, the founder and CEO of 9Round. “Saudi Arabia has always been super traditional, and females have not had the chance to do certain things or even workout in a place just for them.”

The third women’s-only location 9Round has opened worldwide — along with such clubs in Dubai and Kuwait — the Saudi Arabia club was particularly challenging to get off the ground.

“The challenges were the government regulations,” shared Hudson. “We’ve been working on this for the past three years, and there are a ton of hoops our master developers had to jump through to get this to happen.”

Through its partnership with Al-Munif Holdings, 9Round is making large strides in its plan to open over 100 locations across the Middle East. The brand has already opened more than 30 locations in Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and United Arab Emirates.

However, no matter what 9Round branch a member might visit across the globe, the experience is going to be the same, according to Hudson. “The workout space does not change — the same ‘Station 8, Round 8’ in Japan is the same ‘Station 8, Round 8’ in the U.S.,” he said. “In fact, we program our workouts of the day, each franchisee gets these workouts from the home office, and each one executes the same workouts. That same workout should be happening everywhere in the world, at the same time — accounting for the time zones, of course.”

Any differences members might see in the new Saudi Arabia location have more to do with the facility’s layout and amenities, depending on the target demographic.

“The locations over there are a lot bigger because they have to have full showers in locker rooms,” explained Hudson. “The reason they need showers in locker rooms is because they come in wearing the full traditional dress, and they have to be able to change out of that. As long as the workout space stays the same, we allow the perimeters of the locations to change culturally if they need to.”

More cultural adjustments are certainly in store for new 9Round locations, as the brand continues its international expansion — with deals to add locations in Qatar, Viet Cong, Indonesia and Brazil — and gains more ground in its quest for 1,000 locations worldwide.

No matter where Hudson’s hit kickboxing franchise opens its doors next, it’ll be a benefit to anyone who comes inside. “The good thing about fitness and movement is everyone needs it,” he said. “So our brand really translates well in other countries and other cultures.”

Bobby Dyer

Bobby is the former assistant editor of Club Solutions Magazine.

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