Bulking Up

Recently, a number of celebrities and brands have announced initiatives (licensed and otherwise) centered on heavy-duty strength-training and fitness equipment such as stationary bikes, treadmills, squat racks, weight benches, and barbells. Licensing deals occur fairly frequently in the fitness equipment space, but are typically focused on light-weight tools such as yoga mats, handheld dumbbells, ankle weights, and resistance bands, often part of a broader array of products including workout apparel, digital fitness trackers, associated content, supplements, beauty products, and the like. The heavy-duty strength-training sector, on the other hand, is a part of the fitness industry that historically has seen relatively little licensing activity.

But the space has been attracting attention from IP owners of late:

  • Centr, a digital training platform founded by actor Chris Hemsworth (of Thor fame), partnered with Walmart in September to launch a range of fitness equipment including squat racks and 300-pound barbell sets as well as dumbbells and resistance bands, at 4,000 of the retailer’s locations. This marked the Centr brand’s entrance into physical products after both Centr and Inspire Fitness, a manufacturer of equipment including squat racks, free weights, and cardio machines, were purchased by private-equity firm HighPost Capital in 2022. Centr also paired with Hyrox in October in a deal that sees its line of competition-ready fitness equipment used at the Hyrox World Series of Fitness Racing contests and Hyrox-affiliate gyms, as well as being promoted for at-home use. Complementary content is available on the Centr app.
  • Nike extended its brand into premium strength-training equipment for the first time last fall, targeting gyms, fitness studios, and other commercial locations, as well as individuals through its direct-to-consumer channels and in retail outlets such as Dick’s and Scheels. At its launch, the Nike Strength-branded range included dumbbells and kettlebells in a wide range of weights, barbells and bumper plates, full and half squat racks and benches, and dumbbell storage. A couple of months earlier, Nike announced plans to open its own branded boutique fitness studios.
  • Retired soccer star Ronaldhinho Gaúcho, represented for licensing by Brazilian agency Fama Licenciamentos, announced a license with Dream Fitness in June that creates a line of equipment under the Fitness by Ronaldinho Gaúcho brand. The range is sold in 15 countries through e-commerce channels including Amazon, as well as in specialty retail stores. Products to date encompass vertical and horizontal stationary bikes, electronic treadmills, and magnetic elliptical machines, all tailored for home use.
  • Luxury fashion label Dior partnered last year with Technogym for a limited-edition range of fitness equipment under the Dior Vibe brand. Products include a connected treadmill, multifunctional workout bench, and exercise ball, all core Technogym offerings, embellished with the Dior name and logos and fashion-forward color combinations. The range was sold through Dior-branded standalone and in-store pop-up shops in nine fashion capitals across Asia, including Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, and Seoul, as well as London, Beverly Hills, New York, Paris, and Milan.
  • Pent., a luxury brand that outfits hotels, clubs, and other institutions as well as selling to individuals for their personal studios or yachts, partnered with Swarovski for a collection that allows purchasers to customize their equipment by adorning it with Swarovski crystals. The company makes handcrafted equipment including exercise benches, kettlebells, equipment sets, wall bars, weighted gym balls, punching bags, and the like, retailing for thousands or even 10s of thousands of dollars.

Of course, licensors continue to forge more traditional, smaller-scale fitness equipment deals as well. Recent examples range from Jade Industries’ agreement with the Grateful Dead for yoga mats and other yoga accessories to PopSugar’s deal with Walmart for a 16-piece fitness line including hip bands, hip trainers, resistance cords, jump ropes, bar and wrist weights, dumbbells, kettlebells, step decks, and weighted fitness hoops, all produced by Fit for Life.

, , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.