The fitness market in Russia is a growing and important part of Russia’s economy. In 2016 the sector grew by 3.6% to 101.5 billion rubles, despite the economy still recovering from the effects of the 2014 Financial Crisis. Although Russia still has a reputation for drinking and smoking, both numbers are falling quickly and sport is becoming a major industry, especially among younger residents in major cities. In Moscow, for instance, 30% of the city’s residents report that they regularly exercise and gyms have long been popular with middle class Muscovites. The number of fitness centers overall in Russia has increased 43% from 2012 to 2017.
Founded in 1998, Sport Land claims to focus on providing affordable experiences for customers. Most of its locations in Moscow are located in lower income residential areas on the outskirts of the city. Locations outside Moscow are focused on smaller Russian cities that were under-served by professional gym services. Services are priced by location, but generally a year’s basic membership will cost less than $200.
Sport Land provides weights and cardio machines in halls where professional trainers will roam, occasionally providing individual workout sessions to those who sign up for them and generally coaching clients on how to use the machines. In addition, all locations offer aerobics, dance, and martial arts classes. Increasingly, it is also marketing itself to the children of its members, with after-school fitness programs and youth dance and martial arts classes. Spas and tanning beds are also available and it is beginning to diversify its income by installing juice bars and coffee services. It is popular among many fitness buffs in Russia to mix coffee and fitness. Sport Land keeps costs down, in part, by generally not offering more expensive facilities, such as swimming pools.
Besides just bringing in revenue with membership sales, Sport Land also uses franchises and consulting to expand its network without directly opening new fitness clubs. Additionally, Sport Land brings in more revenue by letting individuals and businesses advertise on its premises and website.
Above: An advertisement for martial arts lessons at Sport Land.