(To view a photo gallery of the Top 100 Clubs list, click here. To download a PDF of the list, scroll to the bottom of the article and click on the download button.)
All industries look to their largest companies for growth and leadership. The health club industry is no different. This year's Club Industry Top 100 Clubs list shows that most of the major health club companies experienced an increase in revenue due to an increase in number of units, including in some cases at a pace faster than in previous years. Only Town Sports International, New York, experienced a decrease, partly due to its emphasis on cost cutting and closing some facilities. For many of the clubs on the list, 2016 was a year in which they had the highest number of club openings in many years.
Another trend for 2016 was the continued acceleration in the growth of the franchise model. Within the high-volume, low-priced (HVLP) segment, Planet Fitness, Newington, New Hampshire, saw its greatest increase in clubs, while Crunch and regional brands VASA, Harman Fitness, Chuze Fitness, Xperience Management, Workout Anytime and others (including Retro Fitness and EOS, neither of which submitted for this year's list), increased their pace of openings and, therefore, overall revenue. Orangetheory Fitness led the growth in the studio category. Anytime Fitness and Snap Fitness (Lift Brands) continued to attract the largest number of total franchisees.
Some established small club companies also turned in solid performances, including Leisure Sports, Mountainside Fitness, Tilton Fitness Management, Universal Athletic Club, Genesys Athletic Club and River Valley Club.
Top 15 Rankings
This year's rankings remained similar to last year, particularly in the top 10 with just a few moves up and down. The top four health club companies on the list do not typically report their revenue to Club Industry although some report other requested numbers, such as facilities owned. Because of that, Club Industry estimates the revenue for these companies based on a variety of sources that are deemed reliable.
LA Fitness, Irvine, California, remained at the top of the list again this year. Club Industry estimated $1.987 billion in 2016 revenue for the company, based on industry sources. This is up from the $1.912 billion that Club Industry estimated for last year's list. LA Fitness continued to add clubs at a substantial rate in 2016, including a $5.7 million Signature club in Memphis, The company also closed some former Bally Total Fitness Clubs.
Life Time, Chanhassen, Minnesota, which operates under the brands Life Time Fitness and Life Time Athletic, moved up on the list ahead of 24 Hour Fitness to take the No. 2 spot with $1.475 billion estimated from industry sources. LifeTime Fitness increased its club openings and offered some different models during 2016. In June 2016, it opened Life Time Athletic at Sky in Manhattan. The 70,000-square-foot facility is located inside of Sky, a luxury rental building. In July 2016, the company expanded in Boston with a 186,000-square-foot Life Time Athletic location. And in October 2016, it expanded in the Washington, DC, area with the opening of the 160,000-square-foot Life Time Athletic Gaithersburg, Maryland.
24 Hour Fitness, San Ramon, California, dropped to No. 3 on the list from No. 2 last year with $1.42 billion, again a number estimated from industry sources. The company heated up its growth strategy on both coasts while lessening its presence in the Midwest and Southwest. It exited the Arizona market in 2015 when it exchanged clubs with LA Fitness, and it exited the Midwest in June 2016 when it sold its 19 clubs there to Genesis Health Clubs. How the departure of Mark Smith as CEO in March of this year and the hiring of Chris Roussos as the new CEO in May will affect the company's performance this year is unknown.
New York-based Equinox Holdings, which includes brands Equinox, Blink Fitness, SoulCycle and Pure Yoga, jumped up one spot on the list to No. 4 with $1.09 billion in 2016 revenue, as estimated by industry sources. Blink Fitness revenue made up $75 million of that number, according to a separate Top 100 form that Blink submitted for just its brand. Blink Fitness announced in 2014 that it would begin franchising, and at the beginning of 2016, the company signed its first franchisees. In 2016, Blink opened multiple clubs in the boroughs of New York City. Equinox opened clubs in San Diego (its first there) and Canada as well as New York. SoulCycle opened its first studio outside the United States when it opened a studio in Toronto in 2016. It also opened studios in Boston and Houston (its first there) plus additional locations in New York during 2016.
Equinox Holdings will soon expand into the hotel market when it opens its hotel brand in 2019 in Manhattan. Toward that end, the company hired in August 2016 former Four Seasons Hotel COO and President Christopher Norton to lead its hotel brand and to work with Josh Wyatt, who the company hired in June 2016 as president of its hotel brand. Already in 2017, Equinox has added another hotel executive to management when it hired Niki Leondakis, former Kimpton Hotel president and COO, as its CEO. Former CEO Harvey Spevak moved into the role of executive chairman and managing partner of Equinox Holdings.
Despite revenue growth of 3.4 percent in 2016, ClubCorp, Dallas, dropped to No. 5 on the list with $1.088 billion in reported 2016 revenue. Club Corp. is a publicly traded golf and country club company that has fitness centers in many of its facilities. During 2016, the company purchased three clubs, according to its 2016 year-end report, bringing its numbers to 159 facilities. In July 2017, it was purchased by private equity firm Apollo Global for $1.1 billion and announced its intention to return to being a privately held company. During much of 2016, a shareholder in the company had urged ClubCorp to sell the company due to depreciating shareholder value.
Despite a tough year that included a 7 percent decline in revenue, Town Sports International Holdings, New York, retained its spot at No. 6 on the list with $396.92 million in 2016 revenue for the public company. 2016 was the fifth straight year the company experienced a decline in revenue. TSI, which operates New York Sports Clubs, Boston Sports Clubs, Philadelphia Sports Clubs and Washington Sports Clubs, went through some management changes in 2016. Active investor Patrick Walsh became CEO in September after moving into the executive chairman role earlier in 2016. In May 2016, the company said goodbye to Bob Giardina, who had been CEO for many years but who had moved out of that role and had stayed on the board of directors until his departure. Several new members joined TSI's board of directors in May 2016. In March 2016, TSI partnered with Tone House to offer a second studio brand called Tone House, which is an extreme athletic-based training studio. The company already has its Boutique Fitness Experience (BFX) brand that it launched in 2014. Next year, the company will be reporting revenue that includes the 13 Lucille Roberts locations it purchased in July 2017.
Planet Fitness, Hampton, New Hampshire, held its No. 7 spot from last year's list with a 14 percent increase in 2016 revenue to $378.2 million. The publicly traded Planet Fitness is the highest ranking franchisor on the list. As is the practice on the list, the reported revenue comes just from corporate owned clubs plus franchisee fees; it does not include revenue from all franchisees. In 2016, the low-priced club company opened 195 new facilities, 74 of which opened in the fourth quarter.
The Bay Club Co., San Francisco, California, ranked No. 8 on the list with $228.75 million in 2016 revenue, an increase of 4.10 percent. In 2015, the company had purchased the 11 Spectrum Athletic clubs, but in 2016, its only purchase was of two country clubs—Fairbanks Ranch Country Club in Rancho Santa Fe, California, and The Golf Club at Boulder Ridge in San Jose, California. The Bay Club sold three of its Santa Barbara, California, locations to Gold's Gym franchisees Angel Banos and Willy Banos in October 2016.
Coming in at No. 9 was Capital Fitness Inc., which does business as XSport, Chicago. The company reported flat revenue of $193 million for the year.
Rounding out the top 10 is Crunch Fitness, New York, at $170 million, a 6 percent increase in 2016 compared to 2015. One of the highlights from the company was the deal signed in April 2016 with Chicago Bulls player Joakim Noah to open two Crunch locations in Chicago. The company ranked No. 313 on Entrepreneur's Franchise 500 list in 2016.
EXOS, Phoenix, has continued to climb the list since it was renamed from Athlete's Performance and purchased MediFit Corporate Services in 2014. This year, EXOS ranked No. 11 on the list with $149.4 million in 2016 revenue, a 15.3 percent increase. The reported revenue also includes revenue from its athletic training business. The company made Inc.'s 5000 Fastest Growing Companies List in 2016, ranking No. 1,168.
No. 12 on the list this year is UFC Gyms, Santa Ana, California, which reported $126 million, an 18 percent increase. UFC Gyms is a franchisor, so this number does not include revenue from franchisees except their franchisee fees. The UFC, which owns 50 percent of UFC Gyms, was purchased in July 2016 for $4 billion by WME|IMG, but the joint venture in UFC Gyms between UFC and New Evolution Ventures remained intact. UFC Gym CEO and New Evolution Ventures President Brent Leffel said at the time of the purchase: "As the UFC grows and with the increased firepower they have behind them, that's only going to benefit us."
At lucky No. 13 is Chelsea Piers, Stamford, Connecticut, which reported $124.30 million for its two locations, an 11 percent increase from 2015. Chelsea Piers announced plans to open a 52,000-square-foot facility in Brooklyn next year.
Leisure Sports Inc., Pleasanton, California, ranks No. 14 on the list at $106.37 million, an increase of almost 6 percent from 2015.
Rounding out the top 15 is Midtown Athletic Clubs, Chicago, which reported $103 million in 2016 revenue, a 2 percent increase. Steven Schwartz, CEO of Midtown, and his team spent $75 million and much of the year renovating and adding onto its flagship location on West Fullerton Avenue, which included the addition of a pool and a hotel. The 575,000-square-foot, six-story Midtown Athletic Club and Hotel is re-opening this summer with the hotel opening in October.
Clubs with Major Revenue Growth
Several club companies reported revenue increases of 20 percent or more in 2016.
Orangetheory Fitness, Boca Raton, Florida, reported the second highest increase in revenue at 62 percent for 2016. The franchised brand's $93.37 million in 2016 revenue propelled it from No. 28 on last year's list to No. 17 this year.
Vasa Fitness, Orem, Utah, increased its revenue 40 percent in 2016, coming in at No. 21 on the list with $70 million in 2016 revenue. It plans to add six facilities in 2017, according to the company, which noted that it currently has 26 facilities.
The Edge Fitness Clubs, Orange, Connecticut, also had a big increase in revenue—25 percent—in 2016. It reported $49 million in 2016 revenue for its 13 clubs, landing it at No. 30 on the list. It said it plans to add another two clubs this year.
MUV Brands, Lynnwood, Washington, came in at No. 31 with $47.1 million, a 50 percent increase in revenue. At the end of 2016, the company owned 11 facilities and managed another 11. It noted on its form that it plans to add another 10 clubs in 2017.
Coming in at No. 38 on the list is Chuze Fitness, San Diego, which reported $33 million in 2016 revenue, a 35 percent increase from 2015. The company owns 18 facilities and franchises two, but the low-priced brand reported that it plans to add five more clubs in 2017.
Following Chuze Fitness on the list is Harman Fitness, Chatsworth, California. The company is a franchisee of Crunch Fitness and UFC Gyms in the United States and is a master franchisor in Spain in partnership with soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo for CR7 Fitness. Harman Fitness comes in at No. 39 and reported that its $30.11 million in 2016 revenue was an increase of 33.2 percent over 2015 for the 26 clubs it owns and the two it manages. Harman Fitness plans to add 15 clubs to its portfolio this year.
Another company that experienced high revenue growth in 2016 was No. 52 Tilton Fitness Management, Linwood, New Jersey, which reported $17.84 million in revenue, a 20.5 percent increase over 2015. The company has eight facilities that include medical programming.
Forma Gym, Walnut Creek, California, is new to the list, and it reported that its 2016 revenue increased 34 percent over 2015. The company's two higher-end, multi-purpose clubs brought in $7.16 million in 2016 revenue.
The club company with the biggest revenue increase in 2016 was Workout Anytime, which was also new to the list. The Alpharetta, Georgia-based, low-price franchisor reported a 76.9 percent increase in revenue in 2016, landing it at No. 91 on the list with $4.6 million in revenue for its one owned club, four managed facilities and franchisee fees from its 115 franchised locations.
Clubs New to the List
In addition to some of the health clubs noted above being new to the list, YogaWorks, Culver City, California, made its first appearance on the list this year. Club Industry obtained YogaWorks' 2016 revenue from filings the company made with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) during its initial plan to go public, whcih was announced on July 10. The filing revealed that the company's 2016 revenue from its 49 yoga studios was $55 million, enough to land it at No. 25 on this year's list. On July 20, the company postponed its IPO due to market conditions, but it went public on Aug. 10. YogaWorks is owned by Great Hill Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm, which purchased YogaWorks in 2014 for $45.6 million.YogaWorks said it planned to open 35 new studios over the next 18 months through a combination of new location openings and acquisitions.
Other clubs new to the list that haven't already been mentioned are:
The RehabGYM – No. 97 at $3.1 million
Harford Health and Fitness dba The Arena Club – No. 83 at $6.9 million
River Valley Club – No. 88 at $6.07 million
9Round – No. 93 at $4.2 million
Gurnee Park District/FitNation – No. 96 at $3.18 million
One company that had been on the list in the past but is not on it this year is DavidBartonGyms, which was a New York-based company. The company unexpectedly closed its clubs at the end of 2016.
Top 100 Caliber Companies Not on the List
Every year, several companies who deserve to be on the list decline to provide their information, and we are unable to secure accurate estimates from other sources. The following companies likely should be on the list but are not for this reason:
The Alaska Clubs, Anchorage, Alaska
American Family Fitness, Glen Allen, Virginia
Baylor Tom Landry Health & Wellness Center, Dallas
Brick Bodies, Timonium, Maryland
California Family Fitness, Orangevale, California
Chicago Athletic Clubs, Chicago
Clubsport of San Ramon, San Ramon, California
Curves International, Waco, Texas
Exhale Spa, New York
Fitness 19, Maple Valley, Washington
Fitness USA, West Bloomfield, Michigan
Franklin Athletic Club, Southfield, Michigan
Genesis Health Clubs, Wichita, Kansas
Gold's Gym International, Irving, Texas
Gold's Gym LA, Los Angeles
Healthplex Sports Club, Springfield, Pennsylvania
In-Shape Health Clubs, Stockton, California
Iowa Sports Clubs, Pelham, New York
Las Vegas Athletic Clubs, Las Vegas
Latitude Sports Clubs, Salsbury, Massachusetts
Lowell Management (Gold's Gym Virginia and Wisconsin), Aspen, Colorado
New York Health and Racquet Club, New York
O2Fitness, Raleigh, North Carolina
PRO Sports Club, Bellevue, Washington
Retro Fitness, Colts Neck, New Jersey
Saco Sport & Fitness, Saco, Maine
Titan Fitness Holdings (Fitness Connection), McLean, Virginia
Total Woman Gym & Spa, San Diego
Wisconsin Athletic Clubs, West Allis, Wisconsin
World Gym International, Los Angeles
WOW! Work Out World, Wall, New Jersey
YouFit, St. Petersburg, Florida
Editor's Note: The companies on the Top 100 Clubs list are ranked by 2016 gross revenue, not by any other standard. Club Industry allows franchisors to report revenue from corporate-owned facilities and franchisee fees but not revenue from individual franchisees, as each franchisee can report its revenue separately to be considered for the list.
Acknowledgement and Thank You
A big thank you to Rick Caro, president of Management Vision, for his help with the Top 100 Clubs list and the analysis this year. And thank you to all the club companies who submitted their forms this year.
Club Industry Top 100 List Below
To view a PDF of the list, click on the download button below.