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  • Roger Yao

Fitness Equipment Industry Weekly News – W44


Fitness equipment news weekly
Blog - Week 44

1. Fitness Giant Hydrow Explores Acquisition of Competitor CityRow

Hydrow Inc., a prominent fitness company backed by investors like NFL tight end Travis Kelce and growth equity firm L Catterton, is reportedly in discussions regarding the acquisition of its smaller competitor, CityRow, according to informed sources.

Rower- Hydrow

The main attraction for Hydrow appears to be CityRow's extensive subscriber base, sources say, requesting anonymity due to the confidential nature of the talks. It's essential to note that while negotiations are ongoing, the outcome remains uncertain, as is often the case with deals that have not been finalized.

A spokesperson for Hydrow declined to provide any comments on the matter, and as of now, Cityrow has not responded to requests for a statement.

Hydrow, headquartered in Boston and led by CEO Bruce Smith, has successfully secured over $300 million from a roster of investors that includes RX3 Growth Partners (backed by Aaron Rodgers), Constitution Capital, Winklevoss Capital Management, and Sandbridge Capital, according to PitchBook data. Notably, the company also boasts celebrity investors such as Justin Timberlake and Lizzo. Hydrow had previously explored a merger with a SPAC affiliated with Sandbridge, but those discussions ultimately fell through, as reported by Bloomberg News.

CityRow, under the leadership of CEO Helaine Knapp, has secured funding from notable entities such as JW Asset Management, Sol Global Investments, and K2 Global. Originally established in 2014, the startup initially focused on brick-and-mortar fitness studios and transitioned into the realm of at-home digital fitness in 2018, well before the onset of the pandemic.

For connected fitness companies like Hydrow, consolidation has been a strategic focus to attain scale and drive further growth. A recent example of this trend is Interactive Strength, operating as Forme, which recently announced its acquisition of Clmbr Inc., the creator of a vertical climbing machine.

2. Nautilus, Inc. changes company name to BowFlex, Inc.

US fitness equipment company, Nautilus, Inc. has officially confirmed a significant corporate name change to BowFlex, Inc., signifying a strategic shift toward strengthening its brand and capitalizing on its growth transformation plan, known as North Star.

Nautilus & Bowflex

Jim Barr, CEO and director of Nautilus, Inc., stated, "Over the past few decades, BowFlex has emerged as a prominent brand in our portfolio, renowned for its high-quality and innovative strength and cardio equipment. Our new corporate identity better reflects our distinct position in the connected at-home fitness equipment sector, highlighting our dedication to helping individuals enhance their physical and mental well-being. We are gearing up for an exciting fitness season, with a lineup of new products set to debut this holiday season, as we continue positioning our company to leverage the ongoing trend toward home fitness."

The corporate name change is set to take effect on November 1, 2023, and the company also plans to transition its ticker symbol on the New York Stock Exchange from "NLS" to "BFX" on the same day.

BowFlex, Inc. will maintain its existing management team. This corporate name and ticker symbol change follows the company's previous sale of the Nautilus brand trademark assets and related licenses earlier this year.

Aina Konold, CFO of Nautilus, Inc., affirmed, "As BowFlex, Inc., we remain deeply committed to our shareholders, partners, customers, and employees. We are enthusiastic about this new chapter and its implications as we persist in executing our North Star strategy."

3. Trisport-KETTLER launches HOI Tour Series indoor bikes

KETTLER, the well-known European home fitness equipment brand, is making waves in the industry with its latest offering, the HOI series. Following the success of its HOI Frame indoor bikes, KETTLER has expanded its range, incorporating exercise bikes and ergometers that push the boundaries of both technical innovation and design.

HOI Tour+

The HOI series from KETTLER showcases a perfect blend of cutting-edge technology and contemporary aesthetics. Characterized by its minimalist, modern, and powerful design, it represents a remarkable step forward in the world of home fitness equipment. KETTLER, known for its dedication to quality, is setting new standards in the industry.

The HOI series presents fitness enthusiasts with four distinct devices, each available in two eye-catching color variations: a sophisticated "Stone" and an elegant "Blueberry Green." This choice allows users to not only focus on their fitness goals but also to do so with a piece of equipment that complements their personal style.


The star of the lineup is the "HOI RIDE" exercise bike, designed to provide an exceptional indoor cycling experience. In addition to this, the HOI series introduces three equally impressive ergometers: "HOI RIDE+," "HOI TOUR," and "HOI TOUR+," catering to a wide range of fitness needs. KETTLER, with the HOI series, continues to be a name to trust in the fitness equipment industry, offering high-quality options for users of all fitness levels.

About Trisport

Trisport AG, a Swiss company, plays a pivotal role in the revival of KETTLER. In 2019, KETTLER faced a series of insolvencies, leading to the closure of its German factories. Trisport AG saw an opportunity and stepped in, acquiring the trademark rights for KETTLER sports and fitness equipment in Europe in December of the same year.

As a long-standing Swiss partner of KETTLER for more than three decades, Trisport AG's acquisition of trademark rights and all patents for the production and distribution of KETTLER sports and fitness equipment in Europe was a significant move. In January 2020, Trisport AG officially took over the brand rights for KETTLER's fitness equipment line in the European market, breathing new life into the brand.

Trisport AG's involvement has not only safeguarded the KETTLER brand but has also injected it with fresh energy and vision. The launch of the HOI series is a testament to the renewed commitment and dedication to quality, innovation, and style that KETTLER is known for. With this partnership, KETTLER is poised to continue its legacy in the world of home fitness equipment. As consumers look to invest in their fitness journey, KETTLER's collaboration with Trisport AG offers exciting possibilities for the future of the industry.

Frasers, the British sports and fashion group, is making significant inroads into Germany, the home of sportswear behemoth Adidas (ADSGn.DE), by acquiring the SportScheck chain, according to their announcement.

SportSchek store

Formerly known as Sports Direct and controlled by its founder, Mike Ashley, Frasers is strategically pursuing an "elevation strategy" that involves acquisitions, strengthening partnerships with leading brands, and investments in flagship stores and e-commerce ventures.

Frasers has inked a deal with Signa Retail Department Store Holding to purchase SportScheck, which operates in 34 prime city locations and boasts an annual revenue of approximately 350 million euros ($369 million). Financial details of the transaction, expected to conclude in the first quarter of the following year, were not disclosed.

Michael Murray, CEO of Frasers, sees the acquisition of SportScheck as a significant stride toward their goal of becoming the top sports retailer in Europe. He expressed his enthusiasm, stating, "We are delighted to do this with the full support of major global brand partners, Adidas and Nike," emphasizing that the German market offers "huge opportunities" for Frasers.

Bjørn Gulden, the CEO of Adidas, pledged the company's commitment and excitement to support Sports Direct on their journey.

Frasers, of which 73% is owned by Mike Ashley, has witnessed a 13% increase in its shares so far this year, resulting in a market capitalization of 3.6 billion pounds ($4.4 billion).

5. Golf Industry Report: Mixed Fortunes for Golf Apparel and Equipment Sales in September

Golf Datatech (GDT) reveals contrasting trends in golf apparel and equipment sales for September, shedding light on the current state of the industry.

fitness equipment news

Golf Apparel Sales Show Decline for Third Straight Month

GDT's latest data indicates that golf apparel sales in both on-and off-course specialty stores have declined for the third consecutive month in September, registering a 3.7 percent drop. This decline follows decreases of 3.5 percent in August and 3.6 percent in July. However, it's worth noting that golf apparel sales for the year-to-date (YTD) through September remain 4.1 percent ahead.

July marked a significant turning point, as it was the first decrease in golf apparel sales in 18 months, according to GDT.

Of the eight categories tracked, only two reported increases in September: men's shirts (up 2.7 percent) and outerwear (up 3.2 percent). The largest declines were observed in bottoms, with women's bottoms down 16.9 percent and men's bottoms decreasing by 14.2 percent.

GDT's analysis shows that apparel sales enjoyed an upswing from July 2020 to June 2023 but have recently plateaued. Nevertheless, YTD golf apparel sales remain 55.9 percent ahead of pre-pandemic levels.

John Krzynowek, GDT Co-Founder, noted, "The pendulum has swung toward the negative on golf apparel during Q3 of '23, although none of the declines over the past 3 months have exceeded 4 percent, and YTD sales are still up 4.1 percent."

September Golf Equipment Sales on the Rise

In contrast to the apparel sector, golf equipment sales rebounded in September, marking back-to-back monthly increases in on- and off-course specialty stores. This positive momentum follows 11 consecutive months of contracting sales through July.

Total golf equipment sales increased by over 6 percent for the month, primarily driven by robust Irons sales, which saw a notable 26.5 percent increase in September. This surge in Irons sales can be attributed to new product offerings from major manufacturers, resulting in a 6.1 percent overall growth in golf equipment sales. September sales were a remarkable 43.5 percent higher compared to the same month in 2019.

Year-over-year sales in seven out of nine equipment categories improved, with Golf Bags and Golf Footwear being the only exceptions.

GDT Co-Founder John Krzynowek explained, "Consistent with surging sales in U.S. consumer products, equipment sales in September were up over 6 percent for the month, led by new Iron launches from Titleist, Callaway, and TaylorMade."

On a year-to-date (YTD) basis, Golf Balls stand out as the big winner in 2023, posting nearly 10 percent growth. However, Golf Shoes experienced the most significant decline with a 9 percent decrease for the YTD period. Overall, Golf Equipment sales on a YTD basis were down 0.8 percent compared to the 2022 YTD period but rose by 38.2 percent when compared to the 2019 YTD period.

We provide weekly news for fitness equipment and sporting goods industry!


Fitness equipment quality control engineer
Roger Yao


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