The gym chain, owned by Town Sports International (TSI), just announced it’s rolling out a new pricing model called “High Value Low Price (HVLP)” at clubs throughout New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut (and in other regions like Boston and DC). Meaning, monthly memberships will now start at $19.95.
The money-slashing move will definitely turn some heads. While budget gyms like Blink and Planet Fitness have a similar monthly cost, they don’t have the same amenities as NYSC, like group classes and higher-end equipment.
“We launched the new model to get more market share and to give more people a chance to improve their lives through exercise,” says CEO Dan Gallagher. “The value piece is what we’re really focusing on—it’s a very big competitive advantage. We’re not changing anything [about the clubs].”
And while that may sound too good to be true, Gallagher says that your jam-packed Chelsea location is actually what makes something like this possible—the revenue the company earns from the super popular clubs is allowing them to court customers in the more suburban clubs.
Here’s how it will work: By May 31, the majority of the gym’s locations will switch to the new pricing model, with month-to-month memberships (no annual commitment) starting at $19.95 per month, plus an initiation fee. That fee will vary by location (it may be $49 at suburban New Jersey club, Gallagher says, or up to $250 at a Manhattan location), and it will also vary depending on your monthly rate. For example, you could opt to pay a lower initiation fee and be charged a bit more monthly. (Members with the lower-priced memberships also won’t get free towels or be able to register in advance for group classes, but will have to access them on a first-come, first-served basis.)
In Manhattan, though, there’s an exception. If you want to access more than one club, you’ll have to stick with the old “Passport” model, which currently averages about $75 per month. Plus, about half of the borough’s clubs—specifically popular locations on the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Midtown, and Wall Street—will be “Passport only,” with no HVLP memberships available. In other regions, similar restrictions will apply.
Either way, the move puts NYSC’s parent company, TSI, in a unique and powerful fitness position (no, not a handstand with a twist), allowing it to compete with budget and mid-tier gyms, and with their growing locations of BFX, boutique fitness studios. Unless, of course, BFX spin class junkies trade in their class packs for spinning all month at NYSC? —Lisa Elaine Held
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(Photo: Les Mills Bodypump at New York Sports Club)