How PickUp USA is Implementing a Full Court Press on the Fitness Industry
While COVID-19 has dealt a blow to the fitness industry, some facilities have found opportunity in a time of chaos. One such franchise is PickUp USA Fitness, an innovative basketball-focused fitness franchise that caters primarily to basketball enthusiasts. Offering group training, private training, and, you guessed it, pickup games (with refs), along with weight and cardio rooms, they enable fans of the sport to connect with the game they love and feed their competitive fire. Starting in Los Angeles with a single gym in 2012, PickUp USA has expanded to seven gyms across six states by identifying a niche audience: people having a hard time finding or getting into pickup games. The experience they’ve created streamlines operations, incorporates the fun aspects of pickup basketball, and removes all the negatives by having referees that organize the games for the members.
I had the pleasure of speaking with PickUp USA Vice President of Operations, Paolo Ontalan. He shared how the PickUp USA franchise is growing strong, staying safe, and delivering remarkable experiences to their members
How has PickUp USA pivoted to meet the safety requirements of each respective state, but still provide these key services to your members?
We're closely adhering to the guidelines that health departments have enforced. We've moved to contactless check-in through ClubReady. We used to have a fingerprint scanner, but we’re now using a mobile app via ClubReady. We’ve also beefed up our cleaning protocols. We’ve always had stringent cleaning processes, but we’ve enhanced that further. We incorporate thermometer checks to make sure people are symptom-free prior to entering, and people are wearing PPE. Our staff members go through those same protocols as well. This allows our members to return to the gym with peace of mind.
How do you see the PickUp USA fitness model paired with ClubReady technology bringing people back into your facilities?
The ClubReady member app allows our staff to manage scheduling as well as check-in, allowing for regular sanitization between use, and our members can also book around this availability. We can limit capacity and make sure we're not overcrowded. Our members can plan their workouts based on this capacity. Because we offer this safety and control, we’ve had an influx of guests because this hasn’t been available with other basketball facilities. We're hopeful that this will continue to propel us to a brighter future.
Because PickUp USA offers this unique in-person, hands-on experience, do you see potential for new growth and acquisition in 2021?
100%. Our members have experienced cabin fever like no one has experienced before. It's hard to find an outlet to pursue your fitness and competitive goals, which is what we offer. Our members can't wait to get back into the gym and play basketball with their friends because that's an experience that has been taken away from them for months. You can’t replicate that sense of comradery and competition in a digital environment.
As you look to 2021, what excites you the most? What are you most optimistic about?
While challenging, this experience has allowed us to build more awareness for what we do because many of our guests haven’t had the opportunity to pursue this elsewhere. It gives us a really good foundation and exposure that we wouldn't have had prior. This has also strengthened the resolve of our franchisees in terms of understanding this is a model that can work despite the COVID challenges. This only gives them more optimism moving forward as we open up and people feel more comfortable coming back into the gym and being around others. We're excited for that.