Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, last year's NBA defensive player of the year, is going on offense in Chicago with the announcement he will open five Crunch Fitness franchise locations, starting late this year.
Noah joins a group of NBA players, including Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, Chase Budinger of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Darren Collison of the Sacramento Kings, who have agreed to helm franchise locations in their respective cities for Crunch Fitness. The deals are brought together by BDA Sports Management, sports and business representatives for more than 40 NBA players and more than 80 professional basketball players internationally.
Crunch, which has been in business for 25 years, has about 90 active gyms worldwide, including 82 franchise locations throughout the Unites States, primarily on the East and West Coasts and in Texas.
Crunch Franchise CEO Ben Midgley told Fox News last year that franchise requirements include $1 million in net worth with $200,000 to $300,000 in liquid capital. The clubs are between 16,000 and 25,000 square feet and feature what Midgley called "the nexus between fitness and entertainment," with innovative group fitness programs and cutting-edge training. Crunch memberships range from $9.95 to $19.95 per month, with a 10-day cancellation policy, Midgely added.
A story in Crain's Chicago Business noted that Noah's clubs will be run by an unspecified management group that operates Crunch franchises in Southern California, and that Crunch has not announced specific locations for the five clubs in Chicagoland. One, though, is thought to be planned for Chicago's West Side, not far from the United Center, where Noah plies his athletic skills for the Bulls.
"The idea is to help diversify these guys for after they finish their careers," Midgley told Crain's Chicago. "They could have five to 10 to 15 operating units and could be in good position."
Midgley said of Noah, "He's very big in Chicago. He's very big nationally, and we're appreciative and honored to be partnered with him."