Brands in Mexico are Muscling Up in the Gym

What: The sports clubs market in Mexico continues to grow steadily, making it a relevant platform for brands seeking to reach potential captive consumers and boost their presence in the fitness market.
Why It Matters: With 51 million members, the global fitness industry generates $81 billion a year in profits.

The U.S., Brazil, Germany, Argentina, and Mexico are the five countries that dominate the world fitness market, accounting for 50% of the 186,000 sports clubs tallied by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclubs Association (IHRSA).

The fitness industry generates $81 billion a year in global profits, serving a market of 51 million members. However, not all of its profits come from membership fees.

Fernando Guzman
Fernando Guzmán López, Director of Marketing, Sports World.

Alliances and sponsorships with brands that want to connect with the fitness audience are increasing every year. “In short, we have seen a lot more advertising in the last few years and the supply is increasing in different commercial channels,” said Fernando Guzmán López, Director of Marketing, at Mexican sports clubs Sports World, one of the leading gym chains in Mexico with 45 sports clubs and eight more openings slated for this year.

The advantage of using gyms as a channel to reach an audience is that they are spaces that concentrate a specific target group: middle to upper-middle class, concerned with looking and feeling good, in a relaxing setting bathed in endorphins (the “happiness chemical” released by the body when exercising). This is a combination that brands find hard to resist.

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Chris Dedicik, CEO of New Evolution (NeV).

“[Brands] are interested in this demographic, [in a place] where people are also more relaxed and willing to listen to a brand message. It’s a chance for brands to talk to them, one on one,” said Chris Dedicik, CEO of New Evolution (NeV), which runs nine gyms in Mexico under the Hard Candy, Energy Fitness and MX Gym labels, in addition to over 1,000 other sports clubs in 20 countries around the world.

Sports World has established advertising partnerships with New Balance, Puma, and Kappa, among other brands, while NeV has inked deals with Under Armour, Powerade, and Innovasport.

The potential for growth is looming. “We are at 3.2% penetration nationwide, with ample opportunity to grow compared to countries like the United States and Canada, which are at 17% and 16%, respectively,” said Guzman.

The demographic profile is growing to include young people and older adults, and those with lower incomes. As the fitness market matures in Mexico, this may attract increasingly more alliances and sponsors.

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Dedicik cites the U.S. as an example of this trend, where the fitness market has been consolidating for 20 years, giving rise to a wide variety of gym options. “Ten years ago, there were only two gym chains, aimed at the upper and upper-middle classes. The gyms that served classes C and D were not part of a chain, lacked quality, and were small gyms with used machines. In the same way as with the U.S., the market is already changing in Mexico.”

By Gabriela Gutiérrez