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10 Up-and-Coming Fitness and Sports Franchises

The United States is the largest fitness market in the world. The US is home to about 28,000 fitness centers that generate an estimated $25 billion a year, and the industry expects to continue growing over the next 10 years. Within the industry, multiple segments aid in maintaining industry stability as the public’s needs and preferences change.


Below we take a snapshot of 10 franchises among four segments of this diverse industry. As always, performing your own in-depth research and due diligence is a critical part of determining if an investment opportunity is right for you.




Budget cutbacks didn’t only affect the academic side of education; physical fitness programs also took a hit. As a result, a diverse set of franchises have been sprouting up with the goal of keeping kids active.


Franchise: Great Play

Home Base: Stamford, Connecticut

Founded: 2006

Franchising Since: 2008

Estimated Number of Units: 15

Estimated Initial Investment Range: $192,500 - $414,500

Royalty: 6%

Developed because a set of parents weren’t satisfied with available fitness options, Great Play combines physical activity and virtual gameplay for children ranging in age from 6 months through 5th grade. The franchise has won awards for its fitness programs that incorporate fun into the development of motor skills, sport skills, fitness, and coordination.


Franchise: British Swim School

Home Base: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida (originally Manchester, England)

Founded: 1981

Franchising Since: 2011

Estimated Number of Units: 25

Estimated Initial Investment Range: $47,000 - $71,000

Royalty: 10%

Drowning is the #1 cause of accidental death for kids under five. Former British National Team swimmer Rita Goldberg wanted to something about it, so she founded British Swim School. Originally founded over 30 years ago, Goldberg brought the concept to the United States about 10 years into its existence and began franchising in 2011.


Asian Mother and Daughter Swimming


Franchise: Leap4Fun

Home Base: Henderson, Nevada

Founded: 1979

Franchising Since: 2013

Estimated Number of Units: Under 10

Estimated Initial Investment Range: $26,700 - $31,600

Royalty: 8%

Leap4Fun is a home-based franchise that provides classes at existing facilities such as preschools, daycare, public and private elementary schools, parks, recreation centers, etc. The franchise is best for prospective franchisees who want to share their passion for dance and gymnastics.


Franchise: Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park

Home Base: Los Angeles, California

Founded: 2004

Franchising Since: 2009

Estimated Number of Units: 100

Estimated Initial Investment Range: $850,987 - $2,537,439

Royalty: 6%

Sky Zone is a niche fitness and recreation facility featuring all-trampoline, walled playing courts. Outside of financial requirements, Sky Zone finds three characteristics critical for its prospective franchisees: they must love fun, they have to be committed to the brand, and they have to thrive on innovation and passion.



Fitness Programs with Highly Developed Rationales

Consumers today are generally more discriminating about how they spend their money. There have never been more choices in the world of fitness and information access today is unprecedented. As a result, fitness franchises must prove their worth to win the loyalty of consumers. The following two studio-based fitness franchise programs contribute a highly developed method to the workout scene.


Franchise: YogaFit

Home Base: Chanhassen, Minnesota

Founded: 1994

Franchising Since: 2014

Estimated Number of Units: Under 10

Estimated Initial Investment Range: $88,950 - $144,300

Royalty: 5%
Beth Shaw, who discovered that traditional certifications didn’t address the challenges of teaching yoga in modern health clubs, developed YogaFit in 1994. She then set out to develop a more “user-friendly” style that combined fitness moves such as push-ups, sit-ups and squats with traditional yoga postures. YogaFit is now part of Lift Brands Elevated Wellness Companies, the world's largest wellness franchise organization. 


Franchise: Orangetheory Fitness

Home Base: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Founded: 2010

Franchising Since: 2010

Estimated Number of Units: 350

Estimated Initial Investment Range: $327,600 - $634,100

Royalty: 6%

Orangetheory Fitness has been around for about five years and has grown at an exponential pace in the US, Canada, England, and Australia. The Orangetheory Fitness program is inspired by the scientific phenomena of Excess Postexercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), the body’s elevated demand for oxygen and prolonged calorie-burning functions that continue even after cardiovascular exercise or weight training has finished.



Mixed Martial Arts Training

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is enjoying a resurgence of popularity in the United States. Common disciplines of MMA include boxing, Muay Thai, kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, judo, wrestling, karate, and taekwondo. But MMA isn’t only growing as a spectator sport. People are now looking towards MMA to fulfill their personal fitness goals as well. The franchises spotlighted here provide instruction in assorted MMA disciplines.


Franchise: TapouT Fitness

Home Base: Norcross, Georgia

Founded: 1997

Franchising Since: 2014

Estimated Number of Units: Under 10

Estimated Initial Investment Range: $91,375 - $367,400

Royalty: 6%

Karate Teen BoyThe TapouT Fitness platform combines boxing, kickboxing, cardio, martial arts and fitness training in one location. The franchise states its mission is to “integrate core martial arts principles and philosophies—discipline, excellence and respect for team and teacher—into mainstream gym culture.


Franchise: UFC Gym

Home Base: Santa Ana, California

Founded: 1992

Franchising Since: 2004

Estimated Number of Units: 125

Estimated Initial Investment Range: $250,000 - $550,000

Royalty: 6%

The UFC Gym franchise is a direct brand extension of the Ultimate Fighting Championship—the global mixed martial arts promotion leader. UFC Gym is currently the largest franchise network of boxing, kickboxing and basic mixed martial arts gyms in the world.



Sports Business Support Franchises

Sport is BIG business, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that fitness and sports franchises extend well beyond the field of play. These next two franchises may not be traditional fitness or sports franchises, but they represent integral business concepts that foster industry development.


Franchise: NexGoal

Home Base: Avon, Ohio

Founded: 2009

Franchising Since: 2012

Estimated Number of Units: Under 10

Estimated Initial Investment Range: $50,000 - $400,000

Royalty: 8%

No matter the height of their career, all former Olympic, collegiate and professional athletes must eventually take the next step. NexGoal helps former athletes turned aspiring entrepreneurs to step into the business world.


Franchise: NFP Sports

Home Base: Manchester, Connecticut

Founded: 2009

Franchising Since: 2011

Estimated Number of Units: 15

Estimated Initial Investment Range: $23,200 - $38,500

Royalty: 10%

Many sports programs across the country have had their budgets slashed in recent years. NFP Sports franchisees, or Team Owners and Fundraising Coaches, help sports teams and programs raise money without up-front costs or minimum donation amounts.

Sports Franchises...

British Swim School Survival of the Littlest. Little business, big profit! Join a world-class swim instruction provider. Read More Min. Cash Required:

Pro Image Sports Pro Image Franchises, LC has been the largest sports franchise in the nation for 25 years. If you are dying for a... Read More Min. Cash Required:

Snap Fitness Snap Fitness is the top choice for entrepreneurs seeking a high-quality workout franchise. Read More Min. Cash Required:

Kids In Sports Come and play with Kids In Sports, the children's sports franchise that is both fun and rewarding! Read More Min. Cash Required:

Club Pilates Join the largest network of premium group Pilates studios worldwide! Read More Min. Cash Required:

Parisi Speed School Parisi's proven business models allow you to tap into the booming youth fitness market. Unparalleled support,... Read More Min. Cash Required:

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