NEW YORK, United States — Renowned obstacle race operator Tough Mudder has revealed it will launch a chain of fitness boutiques in the US in 2017.
Despite the company’s events attracting over 550,000 annual participants in 2015 alone, the move, which is set to generate new revenue streams and expand the brand into new markets, comes at a time when growth in race participation is slowing.
“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,” co-founder and CEO Will Dean told the New York Business Journal.
Targeting major cities beyond the fitness hubs of New York and Los Angeles, it is hoped the new studios will attract a demographic that is currently being served by traditional gyms, yoga studios and CrossFit.
Launched in 2009, UK-born Tough Mudder has grown into a global phenomenon. Running over 150 events since 2010, the multi-million dollar business prides itself on reinvention, but there’s one sticking point it is yet to overcome – connecting with new audiences.
A move away from its core product could help to change that.
“Ultimately, we want to take this community, this tribe that we’ve built and really expand into a lifestyle business,” Jesse Bull, Tough Mudder’s Senior Vice President of Content Marketing and Product, told FOXBusiness.com.
“The events will always be the core of our business, the physical gathering that people do once a year, twice a year, 10 times a year. And then [we want to build]off that into lifestyle, into merchandise, into [product]licensing, into content itself,” he added.
In fact, the brand has already found success through licensing its name to Virgin Active UK for its “Mudder Maker” class, so launching its own class-based fitness concept is a natural next step.
While further plans won’t be disclosed until January, Tough Mudder has indicated that it may seek a partner to scale the gym line.
Dean has said that the facilities, which will probably sell monthly passes or offer pay-as-you-go prices, will be marketed as “welcoming and unpretentious,” and accessible to all genders.
In addition, he revealed that they will be used to support other parts of the business, including sponsorship and retail.