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Are the Dallas Cowboys Leaders in a New Fitness Trend?

How the Brand Power of the Dallas Cowboys Has Paved the Way for Cowboys Fit

The power of brands cannot be overestimated. Established companies and brands effectively leverage their existing IP to enter new product categories. Famed entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk believes “brands give permission to not have to stick to one product category.” 

Prominent examples of companies who have used their powerful brands to expand their business in different verticals include Nintendo and Sony. Nintendo originated in creating playing cards. They steadily migrated into selling toys and entertainment, eventually coming to dominate the video game market. Similarly, Sony began as a small electronics shop making tape recorders and radios. Their reputation of product quality pushed them to develop a wider range of tech products, for instance, the massively popular PlayStation.

In each of these cases, the established brand allowed for risk taking and innovation. This teaches that brands can often outlive expectations. After all, “no one thought that Sony could be a video game company, until they were.”

Perhaps no other industry does the power of brands play a bigger role than in the fitness and sports market. However, the fitness markets and sports markets have historically acted independently from each other. Save for summer camps hosted by pro teams, the business industries of sports and fitness rarely interacted. Recently, we have begun to see professional sports teams utilizing their brand power and name recognition to expand into the fitness market. A prime example of this is the Dallas Cowboys’ newest venture: Cowboys Fit.

Fitness World, Meet the Dallas Cowboys

“America’s Team” has become the leader of pro sports franchises entering the fitness space. In 2017, they launched Cowboys Fit at team headquarters in Frisco, Texas. They invite customers to ‘train like one of us,’ granting a fitness experience akin to that of Cowboys players. State of the art facilities, top level personal training, and unique services such as recovery lounges make trainees feel as if they are part of the Cowboy’s organization. This venture is extremely successful, with Cowboys Fit recently expanding into Plano. 

Cowboys Fit’s success was built around three factors:

  1. Sports-Related Service– The impact of professional sports teams is immeasurable. Cities and fanbases often revolve around the actions of their team. When those teams use their power to provide for their followers, people jump on it. There is a stronger connection to the service due to the previous personal investments people make to the team. 
  2. Yearlong interaction– Loyalists to the Cowboys can only see the team for four or five months out of the year. During the season, fans live and breath the Cowboys brand. When the season ends, that fervor goes in hibernation. With Cowboys Fit, customers are told they can live like a Cowboy every day of the year. They no longer have to wait for select Sundays to fully experience the brand. 
  3. Premium service, high demand– The Cowboys Fit gyms offer equipment and facilities that common fitness gyms cannot. Everything about the gym reflects a training facility for a professional team, including everything from cryotherapy recovery areas, to a full length swimming pool, and a nutrition bar. Those craving an active lifestyle have high demands for their gyms. Cowboys Fit was able to capitalize on all of those demands. 

The San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears have opened similar ventures. Chicago even partnered with Mark Mastrov, the founder and former chairman of 24 Hour Fitness, to open Bears Fit. 

Cowboys Fit at Team Headquarters in Frisco, TX
Cowboys Fit at Team Headquarters in Frisco, TX

Leverage Your Fitness Business Branding

Those three NFL teams utilized powerful brands to expand their focus. However, it is nearly impossible the wide impact of hugely popular NFL teams. For gyms, boutique fitness studios, and training academies, brands are delicate and essential. These brands typically strengthen their offerings within their familiar network. This is important to build goodwill and a strong base, and when the brand becomes strong enough, more opportunities arise for business to offer products or services to members or companies in other verticals. 

For example, these new services could include:

  • Business services
    • Consulting others in creating a distinct, engaging, and winning company culture
    • Offering ‘business boot camps’ with focus on various tactics, such as scaling
    • Strategizing on creative social media marketing and outreach
    • Operating elite, and modern, customer service
  • Member services
    • Joining the meal subscription boom and providing fresh and healthy door-side meals
    • Teaching self-development courses in topics differing from physical activity
    • Organizing member experiences such as wellness retreats, with focus on community amongst studio members
    • Providing a subscription service of branded gear and wellness products

These are only a few ideas that would allow for fitness brands to offer additional value to their network, while still staying true to who they are. 

Brands are the lifeblood of businesses. Iconic brands do not become so overnight. It takes many years of innovation and dedication. In order to expand and grow, companies often widen their product focus. Nintendo and Sony began by perfecting one initial product, and then transferring their brand attractiveness to new products. The Cowboys placed their brand on a top-level fitness gym. No one expected those companies to make those moves, but they did. The most successful business and brands are the ones that profit on the unexpected.