NFL teams open branded gyms in bid for more revenue

Cowboys, 49ers cash in on health and wellness trend

A growing number of NFL franchises are investing in team-branded gyms as they look for new sources of revenue away from the gridiron, according to a report on Friday.

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Four NFL teams — the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys — have partnered with 24 Hour Fitness founder and CEO Mark Mastrov to open fitness centers, Front Office Sports reported. The gyms have standard equipment such as free weights and treadmills, but they also have football-themed flourishes such as cryotherapy chambers and indoor turf field training spaces.

The gyms provide NFL teams with a way of monetizing their brands outside of corporate partnerships, ticket sales and other traditional revenue sources. Investments in the fitness sector are a natural fit for NFL franchises that operate world-class training facilities for their players.

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“If I opened a 49ers pencil company, you’d look at me sideways and say, ‘That doesn’t make any sense. Why would you open a pencil company?'” 49ers vice president of strategy and analytics Moon Javaid told Front Office Sports. “Now I could sit here and give you some crazy reason why it makes business sense – but it doesn’t. But if we stick to health and wellness, strength and conditioning, athletic training and personal training, then there’s an association with our brand there.”

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Memberships vary in price by team and location. A basic membership at Bears Fit in Vernon Hills, Ill., costs $59 per month, while a deluxe version with unlimited access to recovery services costs $99.

The Bears, Browns and 49ers each operate one gym location. The Cowboys have three gyms. All locations feature ample team branding, photos of current stars and iconic moments from team history.

“Bears Fit” offers themed workout classes, including “Training Camp,” a high-intensity boot camp, and “Gridiron,” a total body resistance course. The class schedule at “Cowboys Fit” includes “America’s Team Training,” a riff on the franchise’s nickname, and “Defensive Block,” a cardio kickboxing course.

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The team gyms also have pro shops that sell branded merchandise, including jerseys and water bottles. Other features include recovery centers and smoothie bars.

The gyms generally operate as a 50-50 venture between the NFL franchise and Mastrov’s M6 Football, according to the report.

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