Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s privately held gym venture SportsFit Pvt Ltd is in talks with over three dozen franchises in India to expand its operations to 200 gyms in the next five years. The company is also looking at opening centers in Dubai and Singapore in the next one year through the licensing model.

“We are in talks with 42 franchise partners and will narrow down to seven of them in the next one month for expansion. Almost Rs 32 crore investment has already gone in the four gyms that we have currently and that is through internal accruals. We are not looking for new investors at the company, but are keen to expand through the franchise model,”said Pankaj Guliani, CEO, SportsFit.

He mentioned that the real estate cost is very high and thus the company is looking for partners that already own the property – whether it be in malls or standalone outlets.

The upcoming gyms will be of different formats. Sajid Shamim, chairman, SportsFit said, “Around 60 per cent of these gyms will be in a format absorbing an investment of Rs 1.5 crore and will be spread across 4,000 sq feet. Another 20-25 per cent will be in Rs 3.5-4 crore range with 7,000 square feet and the rest will involve investment of Rs 6-6.5 crore spread across 10,000 square feet.”

At present, of the four outlets, two are above 10,000 square feet in size.

The plan is not to restrict these gyms to India. “We are in talks with a few partners in Dubai and Singapore. These geographies are of interest to us because of the large NRI base. However, we will go overseas with a licensing plan rather than a franchise model,” said Shamim.

According to a PwC-Ficci report, India's overall fitness market is estimated at 4,000 crore of which two thirds is accounted by fitness services and slimming centres.

SportsFit will compete with incumbents like Gold's Gym, public listed Talwalkars, FitnessOne and Snap Fitness.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)

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