24 Hour Fitness, headquartered in Carlsbad, California, has a storied history in the fitness industry. Founded in 1983 by Mark Mastoroff, the company has undergone various ownership changes, sponsorships, and global expansion. However, it faced a significant challenge when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the gym to close in 2020, leading to bankruptcy and the closure of several clubs. In this article, we examine the history, partnerships, ownership changes, and current state of 24 Hour Fitness, as well as some of the criticism and legal issues the company has faced over the years. Let’s review.
Sponsorship and Partnerships:
Sponsorships and partnerships have played an important role in the journey of 24 Hour Fitness. In the mid-2000s, the company became a sponsor of the United States Olympic teams, providing memberships to aspiring Olympic athletes and helping to expand U.S. Olympic training centers. Additionally, 24 Hour Fitness partnered with NBC to produce the popular reality show, “The Biggest Loser,” which followed overweight contestants on their weight loss journeys and gave them the chance to win substantial prizes.
Notably, in 2005, 24 Hour Fitness teamed up with legendary cyclist Lance Armstrong to co-sponsor the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team, even inaugurating the first-ever Lance Armstrong Signature Club. However, the partnership ended in 2012 amid Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal, marking a turning point in the company’s sponsorship and partnership history. These collaborations have contributed to the company’s brand recognition and its involvement in promoting health and wellness at various levels.
Global Expansion and Consolidation:
In its quest to become a global fitness brand, 24 Hour Fitness expanded beyond the United States, initially establishing a presence in Singapore and China with about 15 clubs. These international efforts were facilitated through its wholly-owned subsidiary California Fitness (CalFit). However, as the company evolved, it decided to focus exclusively on the US market, which led to the sale of CalFit to Ansa Group, a Hong Kong company, in 2012.
In addition, its former affiliate and spin-off, California Wow Xperience (CalWowX), operates gyms in Thailand, maintaining member exchange agreements with 24 Hour Fitness and California Fitness. This international expansion and subsequent consolidation reflects the dynamic nature of the fitness industry and the choices companies like 24 Hour Fitness make to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing market landscape.
Ownership Changes and Financial Challenges:
The 2010s were a decade of significant ownership changes and financial challenges for 24 Hour Fitness. In August 2012, the company’s owner put the 416-location gym chain up for auction, for an estimated $2 billion. After months of courting various interested parties, the board of directors finally decided to take 24 Hour Fitness off the market in January 2013, as offers fell short of their expectations.
However, in May 2014, the company saw another major transfer of ownership when it was acquired by Forstmann Little & Co. and was sold by AEA Investors LP and an investment group led by the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan for $1.85 billion. These changes in ownership had a significant impact on the company’s financial outlook and management structure, setting the stage for the challenges and opportunities facing the fitness industry.
Current Operations and Competitors: A Look at 24 Hour Fitness in 2023
As of 2023, 24 Hour Fitness operates approximately 280 clubs in eleven US states, making it one of the nation’s largest fitness chains. Its presence extends from California to New York, including states like Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Virginia. With a workforce of over 7,500 employees, the company is a major player in the fitness industry.
Although the brand successfully emerged from bankruptcy in 2020 under new ownership, it faces stiff competition from other fitness giants, including Anytime Fitness, Gold’s Gym, and LA Fitness. Navigating the competitive landscape and changing fitness trends will be key for 24 Hour Fitness as it strives to maintain its position in the market and keep up with the fitness needs of its members.
Criticisms and Legal Issues:
Over the years, 24 Hour Fitness has faced criticism and legal challenges. A notable event occurred in 2007 when the company settled a class action lawsuit by 1.8 million current and former members. Plaintiffs allege that 24 Hour Fitness continued to automatically refund their memberships even after they had canceled their subscriptions upon request. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, finding that the company did not act in good faith, particularly to the “All Club” membership and access to rebranded locations, resulting in undisclosed additional fees.
Additionally, in 2010, six former employees filed a separate class action lawsuit accusing 24 Hour Fitness of discriminatory promotion practices based on race and gender. These legal issues and complaints have highlighted the challenges and controversies the company has faced in its operations, emphasizing the need for better transparency and customer relations within the fitness industry.
24 Hour Fitness mission:
At 24 Hour Fitness, their mission is to promote a healthier and happier world through fitness. With a presence in nearly 300 clubs in 11 states across the country, they understand the value of your time in the gym in maintaining your physical and mental well-being. That’s why they offer a welcoming and inclusive environment equipped with thousands of square feet of premium strength and cardio equipment, turf zones, free weights, and functional training areas.
In addition, they provide a variety of options, including studio and cycle classes, personal training, and cutting-edge digital and virtual offerings, designed to help you keep your mind and body in tip-top shape. are They’re meant to empower you to reset for the next 24 hours, making sure you’re fully prepared for whatever comes your way. Find 24 hour fitness near me.
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