9Round Reaches 400 Club Milestone, Plans for 1,000 Locations in 2018

Shannon Hudson cofounder of 9Round plans to grow his franchised kickboxing business to more than 1000 locations by 2018 Photo courtesy 9Round
<p>Shannon Hudson, co-founder of 9Round, plans to grow his franchised kickboxing business to more than 1,000 locations by 2018. (Photo courtesy 9Round.)</p>

Eight years after husband and wife team Shannon and Heather Hudson opened their first 9Round gym in Greenville, South Carolina, the company now has 400 locations in 40 states and nine countries. The company plans to have 1,000 locations by the end of 2018, according to an announcement by 9Round.

“The opening of our 400th location is not only a special day for 9Round but a testament to the hard work of our dedicated franchise partners and their hardworking teams and, of course, our loyal members,” Shannon Hudson said. “This is only the beginning of great things to come as we continue to expand and build the 9Round brand by providing the average person championship-caliber kickboxing fitness training.”

In the past two years, 9Round has been recognized several times for its growth. This summer, 9Round was ranked No. 413 on the Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies list, its second year on the list. The company had 933 percent growth in the past three years with 2015 revenue of $7.9 million, according to the list. It ranked No. 471 in 2015.

In January, 9Round ranked No. 190 on Entrepreneur's Franchise 500 list, which ranks franchises on system size, years in business, startup costs, litigation, net franchise unit growth over a three-year period, financial strength and stability of the franchisor as determined by an independent certified public accountant based on analysis of audited financial statements.

In March 2015, the company was ranked No. 99 on Forbes' Top Promising Companies list, which is based on revenue and employment growth, operating margins, product ideas, length of time of operation, management, capital raised and other factors.

9Round has opened more than half (227) of its 400 clubs in the last two years alone—including the company’s first locations in Australia, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom—and is anticipating even more rapid expansion in the years to come. In May, the company announced it had signed a master franchise agreement for 100 clubs to be developed in Japan during the next 10 years.  

“We’re talking about more than doubling our international footprint. That means the next couple of years are going to be a grind. Bring it on,” Hudson said. “When I wanted to win a world kickboxing title, I imagined having the belt around my waist. I could feel the weight of the gold on my hips. The feeling part is the secret. If you’re gonna dream, dream big.”  

According to Hudson, who won the IKF Light Middleweight Kickboxing Championship of the World in 2011, a title he still holds, the response to 9Round’s franchise opportunity has been unbelievable and overwhelming.

“There is something empowering about kickboxing—it is that sense of empowerment that appeals to most people," Hudson said. "This unique fitness proposition, coupled with our rapid growth, are two of the key differentiators that make us stand out from the competition and will, no doubt, keep us atop the market.”  

9Round offers 30-minute kickboxing classes in a full body circuit format. The program is developed around a proprietary and copyrighted system of nine workout stations developed by Hudson.

Approximately 680 of the 3,800 active franchise systems in the United States have more than 100 units, according to FranData, an independent research and advisory company that focuses on tracking and analyzing franchise companies and their performance. Less than 100 of those systems have been operating for less than 10 years.  

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