24 Hour Fitness renews official deal with USOC

24 Hour Fitness has renewed its sponsorship of the U.S. Olympic Committee, extending its position as the official fitness center of Team USA through 2016.

The company first signed on as a USOC partner in 2003. It historically was categorized as a USOC supplier, the organization’s third sponsorship tier, which is worth anywhere from $3 million to $10 million over four years.

24 Hour Fitness has seen a strong return on its investment over the last four years, CEO Carl Liebert said. In surveys, potential customers said they were 15 to 20 percent more likely to choose 24 Hour Fitness over its competitors because of its Team USA affiliation.

“It’s a crowded space where people can work out anywhere, even at home,” Liebert said. “It’s a tiebreaker for our club, and that’s important for us.”

From left: Olympic athlete Tony Azevedo; U.S. men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski; 24 Hour Fitness Chief Marketing Officer Bill Quinn; Chairman of USA Basketball Jerry Colangelo; 24 Hour Fitness President and CEO Carl Liebert; U.S. women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma; Olympic athlete Kerri Walsh; and USOC Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Baird at the opening of Team USA's High Performance Training Center.
GETTY IMAGES
The sponsorship also has been a great source of pride and motivation for its employees. The company has used it this year as a perk for the managers and staff at its 418 clubs. It accepted 500 employee applications, which included letters of recommendation from each of the colleagues at their respective clubs, to go to London as “fitness ambassadors” and run Team USA’s High Performance Training Center.

“They work while they’re here, but they’re getting to do what they love and get to work with some of the U.S. athletes,” Liebert said.

24 Hour Fitness has put social media at the center of its marketing efforts for the London Games. The company has turned its “fitness ambassadors” into on-site reporters for their clubs. Each of its 418 clubs has a Facebook page, and the ambassadors in London are posting about their experiences there.

Club members also are being encouraged to support Team USA by logging onto 24hourftiness.com/teamusa and uploading a photo or message of support. Those messages and images appear on TVs in the High Performance Training Center, so that Team USA athletes can see them as they’re working out.

“Because of the adoption of social media, it really helps bring [the sponsorship] to life,” Liebert said.

24 Hour Fitness also sponsors USA Basketball. It hosted a press event Thursday at Team USA’s High Performance Training Center. USA Basketball coaches Geno Auriemma and Mike Krzyzewski, and the company’s sponsored athletes, Tony Azevedo (water polo) and Kerri Walsh (beach volleyball), attended the event.

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