Below is our recent interview with Moritz Kreppel and Benjamin Roth, CEOs and Co-founders of Urban Sports Club:
Q: For those who haven’t heard of it, what is the best way to describe Urban Sports Club?
Moritz: “With Urban Sports Club we offer a flexible sports flat-rate. In a nutshell: Unlimited fitness, yoga, swimming, climbing, team sports, wellness and more than 50 types of sport with just one membership. We have more than 7000 partner venues in Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal – so far.”
Q: What types of sports are available to choose from? Which cities are covered?
Moritz: “Our European offer enables our members to train at their local studio in Paris or Barcelona, then try out sailing in Lisbon or check out a ballet studio or swimming pool on their weekend trip to Berlin, Rome or Milan. As a business or private member you can practice yoga, Crossfit®, swimming, general fitness, but also other sports like surf, wakeboarding, bouldering or horse riding and even surfing or sailing. Whatever you would like to try and depending on your mood, needs or season. Our members with L and XL memberships can also book massages and EMS sessions. Most of our members go to three venues in their local area on a regular basis. They often combine yoga with climbing, or training at the gym with volleyball or swimming.”
Benjamin: “In total we have almost 60 cities in our five countries, and the numbers are constantly growing. We are not only looking at quantity, we focus on quality and long-term relationships with our partners and members alike.”
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Q: Which services are the most demanded now?
Moritz: “The most used sports facilities currently are yoga, functional fitness, general fitness and boxing sports. Interestingly, the level of popularity of the different sport and exercise modalities can vary significantly between countries and between regions.”
Q: How did you start your business?
Benjamin: “We launched Urban Sports Club in Berlin, Germany, in 2012. At the beginning, it was just the two of us and our idea of the best sports offer and the fitness flatrate. Getting started was really hard: After two years of bootstrapping and doing a lot of persuading, we decided to take investors on board and secured an early-stage financing. And we made it. We have spent most of the last seven years expanding across Germany and Europe and working on the expansion, the team and the product. And here we are, growing ever since.”
Q: Can you tell us something more about Urban Sports League? What is it and how does it work?
Moritz: “The League has been around for almost as long as Urban Sports Club itself. Company teams play soccer once a week and compete against each other. We just hired a new team lead, she is a lifelong football player herself. Christine supports our main vision at Urban Sports Club of empowering people to lead an active, healthy life. We support team sports in general, especially for companies and are aiming to become the leading professional league for non-professionals. Employees enjoy sports, fun, and networking. Companies benefit from team building and employer branding. It’s a win-win situation.”
Benjamin: “Right now we have about 80 company football teams that compete on a weekly basis in one of our four cities in Germany: Berlin, Munich, Cologne and Hamburg. We are the biggest company football league in our country. But of course, the aim is to go international. As of September, we will play in a new system, that allows for competition between the cities. It will finish off with an exciting final event in Berlin in summer 2020 where the best teams compete for the trophy. We are constantly exploring new sports. For the first time this summer, we also have the Beach Volleyball League with tournaments and about 30 company teams. The sessions are led by experienced coaches and show a nice gender mix.”
Q: There’s also corporate fitness offer available, right?
Moritz: “Yes, right. Our offer is for both private members and companies with their respective employees. We have special corporate activations that we can make available when companies sign up to be part of Urban Sports Club. There are companies that advertise with our offer and attract new job candidates by saying: ‘Look, if you work for us, you’ll get a membership with Urban Sports Club.’ Many companies tell us that their employees from different departments and levels team up and do sports together. That makes us really proud.”
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Q: What are your plans for the future?
Benjamin: “We want to grow in all aspects, such as developing our partner network, team, product and offer. In the end, the sports platforms that will take the lead are the ones that adjust their products to the needs of the studios, the ones who listen and who are transparent and reliable.”
Moritz: “It is and will be: the Workout Life Balance, as we call it. Our aim is to inspire people to lead an active and healthy life – and we really mean it!
We want to turn our mission into a movement and we also want to help with the creation of healthy work environments. In many cases, HR professionals spend a lot of effort convincing their management to support sports and wellness. In reality, it’s the managers that hold the key to changing workplace culture. Employees want their leaders to encourage them to do team sports or attend a yoga class. Many companies are looking to reduce healthcare costs by offering a sports program, while also fostering healthy and happy employees. While this is a great start, it’s important to realize that simply putting a sports program into place isn’t enough. Employees need their leader’s support to create a thriving culture of health and sustainable behavior change.”
Benjamin: “One of the most powerful tools we have in growing our company is our people. Since we are growing so fast, we are also hiring. We are searching for talented personnel for our offices, also in tech. We cultivate diversity and look for a shared vision. Interested candidates can visit the job section on our website and apply directly for the open positions at Urban Sports Club in all our countries – and the ones to come.”