Yesterday, Sports Business Journal/Sports Business Daily reported that Tough Mudder is looking to expand into gyms in 2017. According to the news source, Will Dean said during a panel discussion a SportsBusiness Journal conference that “Tough Mudder will launch a chain of fitness boutiques in the U.S. in 2017”.
Dean said the facilities probably would sell monthly passes or offer pay-as-you-go prices, and be marketed as “welcoming and unpretentious,” and accessible to all genders. We reached out to Tough Mudder this morning to learn more about the story; their team said, We can confirm the Sports Business Daily piece, but no other commentary at this time.
This is the second major international race series entering the fitness boutique market as opened their gym in the luxury 1 Hotel in Miami, Florida. Dean said during the panel that Tough Mudder is seeking new revenue streams and an expanded brand footprint as race participation growth slows. From the Sports Business Journal article:
Dean said he thinks Tough Mudder gyms would fit easily into the landscape in small- and midsized markets, which, he said, research shows are mostly served by traditional all-purpose gyms, CrossFit franchises, and yoga studios. “We think there’s a lot we can do there,” he said. The appeal is more limited in the largest cities, where other specialized, lifestyle-branded studio gyms proliferate.We believe there’s big opportunity in the studio fitness space outside of the major markets of New York and Los Angeles, for something that gives functional fitness, delivered in a consistent, high-quality and safe environment,” Dean said.
Tough Mudder may seek a partner to scale the gym line. Further details and plans won’t be disclosed until a January launch, but Dean personally is spending “almost half” his time on the gym initiative.
During the panel Dean mentioned further said that numbers of participants at their core races have stayed flat over 2016 and that most of the company’s new revenue this year has come from the Tough Mudder Half and the expansion into foreign markets. This is the same tactic that Spartan Race has made in the last few years focusing on the emerging markets of Asia and South America.
This is a strategic opportunity for Tough Mudder to jump into the gym arena as they for years have been issuing cease-and-desist letters to trainers and gyms already using their name in their marketing and without permission. To date, the only franchise licensed to use the Tough Mudder name is Virgin Active gym in the U.K.
Adding gyms to the mix could be part of the further expansion of Tough Mudder as a lifestyle brand. With the upcoming CBS and CW network shows it could be the time to jump into the training arena even more than the currently online Coachify Series. The company continues to have work with primary sponsor Merrell after signing a three-year deal with them.
While no official statement from Tough Mudder has been made this morning Tough Mudder representatives did confirm the article originally in Sports Business Journal/Daily. It seems that for those who are loyal to the Tough Mudder Nation might soon have a dedicated place(s) to train.