We recently shared based on page views, but page views can be deceiving, as stories from earlier in the year can pull more page views by virtue of their longevity on the website.
So the Club Industry editors looked at the news we covered this year, and we selected our top five news stories of the year. They are listed below with our top story appearing last.
In February, we shared a story about small and medium-sized health club owners who alleged that third-party billing company National Fitness Financial Systems, Layton, Utah, failed to pay them their share of their members' dues. The alleged lack of payments caused financial hardships for many of the health club owners. Because we did not have access to National Fitness Financial Systems' client list, we do not know how many club operators were affected by the company's alleged actions (or lack thereof), but to this day, we still receive emails from health club operators complaining about not receiving payments from the company. In addition to financial issues, many of these operators then had to find a new billing company and endure a transition to a new system.
This saga of Bikram Choudhury actually involves more than one article. We have been covering the sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations against the founder of Bikram Yoga for more than a year. In January, filed by his former lawyer, Minakshi Jafa-Bodden. The jury awarded her $924, 000 in compensatory damages and . brought by former employees and students alleging sexual harassment and rape. Choudhury has denied the allegations. In October, In that episode, several former students of Choudhury's Bikram Yoga College of India likened Choudhury to a cult leader who berates his students. Choudhury told "Real Sports" correspondent Andrea Kremer that the allegations against him were lies for the purpose of making money, and he later stormed off the set.
This month, a judge ordered that Choudhury had to turn over the Bikram Yoga College of India, franchise agreements and intellectual properties to Jafa-Bodden because he had not yet paid her the .4 million he owed her in punitive damages. Jafa-Bodden's lawyer, Carla Minnard, alleges Choudhury has left the country to avoid payment, and she plans to seek a bench warrant for his arrest in the United States and abroad.
Some Bikram Yoga studio operators have already taken the Bikram name off their studios, but how this order by the judge will affect any franchisees is unknown at this time.
Town Sports International (TSI), New York, which operates clubs as New York Sports Clubs, Boston Sports Clubs, Philadelphia Sports Clubs and Washington Sports Clubs, was one of the big players in the health club industry for years, so big, in fact, that . However, the company's revenue has been declining, as its stock price has stayed below $4 since May 2015.
In 2014, , and in 2015. The move initially caused an increase in TSI's memberships, but in first quarter 2016, the company blamed its 9 percent revenue decline in the quarter in part on the lower dues price. Despite the company lowering its debt during the first quarter, TSI continued a revenue decline in the second quarter and in the third quarter (
In March, , to its portfolio. Tone House is an extreme athletic-based training studio that operates independently of TSI. TSI's first studio brand.
In November, to make over its health clubs, website and digital app. The new branding was to position the clubs as community-centric neighborhood gyms.