Life Time Fitness Serves Up Strategic Partnership with Lululemon to Propel Pickleball Growth

Life Time fitness is fully embracing pickleball, America’s fastest-growing sport. This dedication to the sport was evident in New York City on Saturday, where Ben Johns, one of the top male pickleball players globally, and former tennis star Andre Agassi were practicing at Life Time’s new courts.

The upscale fitness company sees pickleball as a key part of its growth strategy. To further this goal, Life Time announced on Tuesday that it’s partnering with Lululemon, making them the official apparel partner for Life Time pickleball and tennis. This collaboration involves selling Lululemon apparel online at Life Time clubs and teaming up for important pickleball events.

“This partnership shows how much these sports are growing and brings together top athletic apparel with top tennis and pickleball experiences,” said Celeste Burgoyne, president of Americas and global guest innovation at Lululemon.

Life Time Fitness partners with Lululemon for pickleball and tennis apparel, enhancing player experience.

Life Time, established in 1992, has over 170 athletic country clubs across the US. These clubs are looking for new ways to promote fitness after Covid-19. Bahram Akradi, Life Time’s CEO and founder, is a keen pickleball player himself and believes it can be a major motivator for people to get active again.

“Pickleball is working. It’s packed all the time,” he said.

And it’s getting more popular. On Saturday, Life Time revealed Manhattan’s largest indoor pickleball venue, just blocks from Penn Station. The 54,000-square-foot club has seven street-level pickleball courts that opened on April 15.

Andre Agassi was appointed chairman of Life Time’s pickleball and tennis board, aiming to boost the sports’ profile.

Akradi mentioned that the company has added new playing areas or transformed tennis courts nationwide, offering over 700 pickleball courts now, making it the largest provider of permanent pickleball courts in the US.

Akradi estimates that Life Time has already invested between $50 million and $100 million in pickleball, contributing 6% to 7% of Life Time’s membership dues.

Life Time has also partnered with professional pickleball to host nearly a dozen tournaments on their courts, some even televised nationally. This week, the Atlanta Open, part of the PPA Tour, will take place at a Life time in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, with 16,000 attendees expected.

Agassi recently started playing pickleball, a less taxing sport on the body after his years of tennis. He believes pickleball will thrive because it promotes healthy habits, builds community, and is easy for beginners.

In February, Life Time appointed Agassi as chairman of its pickleball and tennis board, where he will work to raise the sport’s profile and develop programs, and leagues.

“My hope is that it grows in college and grows in the Olympics,” Agassi said.

Ben Johns provides Life Time members with 70 instructional pickleball videos, enhancing player skills.

Off the court, Life Time is offering advice from top pickleball player Johns. Last month, the company announced that he and his brother Collin would provide members with 70 instructional videos to improve their game.

“We partnered with Life Time because they are very into spreading pickleball, and their members want to get better,” Johns said.

Johns has witnessed the sport’s exponential growth and seen his income grow tenfold since 2021 due to more sponsors and media rights.

Life Time’s pickleball strategy is already showing promising results. While its stock declined around 23% from March 2023 to March 2024, its first-quarter earnings report indicated a revenue increase of $85 million from the previous year, adjusted EBITDA up over 20%, and net memberships up by 38,000.

Analysts attribute the recent poor stock performance to various concerns but view Life Time as an underappreciated story in the consumer space.

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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