As funding challenges and rising costs pose a challenge to many sports clubs around the country, successful organisations are finding new and innovative ways to support their operations and become more self-sufficient. At Origin Fitness we've seen a large number of sports clubs turn their attention to creating a gym or fitness offering that supports the club's core activities and provides an additional revenue stream that can help further their aspirations on and off the pitch.
Origin Fitness Account Manager Harry Russell explains why, and how, clubs should consider creating a new training space.
How Does a Sports Club Benefit from a Gym?
With one in seven people in the UK now a member of at least one gym (Health Club Management Handbook ,2018) it's the perfect time for you to tap into the public's growing interest for healthy living.
As well as the obvious growing demand for this type of facility, there is a range of other benefits to clubs.
While many locals won't be full members of the sports club, inviting them in to use the gym could be a way to establish a relationship. This early-stage interaction can lay the groundwork for them to engage in other events and classes. It could even result in adult members bringing their children along to get involved in the sport. A facility like this will broaden the reach of the club in the local area, engaging with new members who (without a rugby, tennis, hockey, golf etc. background) wouldn't previously have been part of the club's target audience.
As well as a gym space drawing in new prospective users, the facility will undoubtedly add value to your existing membership base. Bringing in new equipment and training options can have a huge impact on a team's motivation and on an individual athlete's physical performance. Especially during the off-season, when outdoor facilities aren't always accessible or games are few and far between, offering an indoor solution will keep your club's community, your athletes and your finances in shape.
A low-risk investment
Transforming a space itself may seem like a daunting task. Clubs often assume there needs to be a large initial investment, with this being seen as an initial hurdle.
In actual fact, the initial investment could be smaller than you might expect. Most sports facilities will use a finance solution, making it easy to understand the required returns by calculating new membership targets before going ahead with any purchases.
For example, you might find that for your entire new space, you only need 20 monthly members to break even. That's not even including any additional income you might get from PT's renting the space, or classes you market for a small extra fee. Exploring these various avenues might lead you to discover that creating a new space is not as difficult as you once thought.
An experienced equipment supplier will have strong links with finance partners, meaning they can help calculate exactly what you can and can't afford and tailor your new space to match your needs precisely.
Turning an Underutilised Space into a Functional Training Zone
Bringing something new to the club just starts with identifying the space itself. We've seen some truly astonishing transformations, from excess changing room spaces and awkward rooms left under pavilions and stands, to a converted container left on the grounds.
Your supplier should work with you to maximise your space and create a gym design in 3D before choosing to go ahead with anything. That way you can see what it looks and feels like and allows you to be creative, thinking outside the box. You might be surprised by the amount of equipment you can fit into a small space, or how little equipment is actually required to offer a modern functional training space.
Many finance options will allow you to upgrade your equipment at a later stage, so you can change your setup if you find something isn't working for the club.
You can use this opportunity to break down barriers and welcome new people into the club. At Origin Fitness we have worked with several clubs who have identified young athletes with potential, who first came into the club through the gym.
At Western Health and Racquets club, the outdoor courts were often left unused in the winter, and they did not have the space to create further indoor training spaces. Instead, they took two otherwise underutilised spaces and turned them into a cardio suite and a strength training area. Following several years of success, this new gym conversion paid for another upgrade, with their gym (now equipped with Intenza Cardio equipment) drawing in members of all types.
At Stirling County RFC, they have a growing junior and women's division that is performing well beyond initial expectations due to the conversion of an old outhouse into a performance gym. While these junior performances are inspiring, they are also motivating the senior rugby players to spend more time working on their S&C within the facility, improving the performance of the teams across all divisions.
In Falkirk FC, a previously unused space beneath the stadium's stalls is now a bustling gym, offering training for all performance levels. They have set times when the gym is in use only by the club's top athletes, but the public loves training in the same place as their local sports heroes, making it a really lucrative investment and revenue stream for the business.
If you'd like to find out more about creating a training facility at your sports club, feel free to get in touch with our experts via our contact us page. If you prefer to speak to someone on the phone, you can reach us on 0333 2000 750.