Longtime supporters of the University of Louisville (UofL), PF Louisville LLC hosted a post-season autograph session with UofL basketball players Damion Lee and Trey Lewis, March 11, from 4-6 p.m. The two-hour event drew more than 500 fans to the group’s Louisville Middletown Planet Fitness®.
“We’re firm believers in aligning our brand and clubs with the community’s influencers,” said Rick Kueber, PF Louisville CEO. “On top of that, this was a great opportunity for us to give our members and prospective members a chance to meet two outstanding young men.”
The Louisville program is annually one of the top draws in college basketball averaging more than 22,000 fans per home game. Lee and Lewis led the University of Louisville Cardinals to a 23-8 regular season record and #16 ranking by the Associated Press.
Over the past four-plus years, including the 2013 National Championship season, Cardinal fans young and old have come to Kueber-owned clubs in the Louisville area for a chance to meet their favorite players.
“Hosting and promoting events like this gives people who have never stepped foot into our clubs a reason to check us out,” said Kueber. “By our estimation, over the past four years, we’ve brought in thousands of folks who otherwise would not have been exposed to Planet Fitness. Bringing in Trey and Damion, captured the attention of 400 non-members – that’s a win for us as we continue to grow our Middletown club.”
To take advantage of the extra traffic, the club promoted a special in-club $1 down enrollment offer to those visiting. Additional staff was also on-hand to provide tours of the club and answer questions.
Along with the brand alignment between Planet Fitness and UofL, the club received marketing and promotional value through a media buy with the local ESPN radio affiliate. The timing of the event also allowed two of four network affiliate newscasts to do live shots from the club floor. The club also used boosted Facebook posts to target Cardinal fans in the surrounding areas and drive attendance.
“The exposure we received in a basketball-crazy community far outweighed the investment,” said Ken Horn, PF Louisville marketing manager. “There were lots of smiles as fans got a chance to have a photo taken and get an autograph from Trey and Damion. Plenty of folks left here with a positive first impression of the club and Planet Fitness.”
Kueber-owned clubs have marketing agreements in place with other college sports programs, particularly in markets where they face stiff competition or are opening an area’s first Planet Fitness.
“It’s important to partner with local entities that have tremendous positive equity,” said Kueber. “Many of our markets are focused on their local sports teams. We try to take advantage of those good feelings and make sure our club can benefit.”