After the Great Recession in 2008, no industry was hit harder than real estate. So as the growing trend of scientific-based sports performance programming was maturing and evolving into serving a wider variety of athletes, so too was the build and expansion of training facilities. Founded in 1999 by Loren Seagraves, Velocity Sport Performance was the clear leader in the industry until that point, with nearly 50 locations across the country. Velocity gave athletes of all levels entry into elite training facilities. Staffed by professional coaches, using advanced speed training and coaching techniques, anyone from youth to High School to the Pro levels could become a better athlete.

By 2011, the economy was beginning to recover, but the industry had forever changed. No longer were 20,000 sq. ft. facilities located in affluent suburban areas, often in climates like California, Florida and Texas, were feasible as a franchise business model. Velocity established fresh partnerships with Gatorade and Under Armour, moving to its own proprietary training curriculum away from Nike SPARQ. The evolution also included the formal integration of Physical Therapy clinics within the brick & mortar space, which expanded revenue streams while also diversifying the client base through doctor referrals, insurance patients and athletes rehabbing prior to resuming performance training.

 

Joining the team in 2013, I was coming into an industry leader. My first week on the job ‘we’ were training a group of 15 NFL prospects including a perennial All-Pro Center, a Super Bowl Champion Safety and a Pro Bowl WR/KR. Velocity had the best performance coaches, from the top universities, providing customized meals, daily therapy treatments and even mental coaching. But then there was the core business. Like most companies, Velocity was the 80/20 rule, where 20% of our Clients (Pro Athletes) generated 80% of the revenues. However, in this industry with facility rent as overhead, that last 20% which include local youth, High School & Adults is crucial. The ability to market and develop this business will either allow you to thrive running a double-digit profit margin that generates millions a year, or a facility that ‘transacts’ millions but can never post a profitable month.

I have always believed that a business’s best insurance policy was its partnerships. Witnessing this first-hand in the Nightclub & Entertainment business, then the Consumer Electronic retail market and now between Sports Performance & Physical Therapy, I knew this practice could apply across industry. Developing relationships with athletic directors of Unified School Districts and Private K-8 schools, as well as Head Coaches of elite high school football programs, we now established an ‘inside-outside game’, generating revenues outside the facility. Naturally evolving into highlighting the sport-specific benefits of Velocity coaching, my next move was to bring a partner in-house. JW Basketball used our half-court 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, TRX coaches were brought in for adults to use the track space before school was out, a temporary golf cage was built for a swing coach to come in 3 days a week, and our conference room was rented by an NFL QB Coach who taught sessions on the whiteboard, on the computers with VR technology and on our turf field in the evening hours.

Finally, I wanted to celebrate these amazing partnerships that supported athletes’ abilities to secure free education through athletic scholarships, helped those preserve their income through prolonged play careers and provided healthy programs for the local community. Having hosted the Coaches Meetings for our long-standing partner at the Matt Leinart Flag Football League, we ask Matt to lead our Total Athlete Seminar which featured an Olympic Dietitian in addition to our Head Performance Coach, the Director or Physical Therapy and even a College Recruitment Specialist, along with healthy snacks for all the athletes, coach and parents in attendance. A magic night showing off our facility, partners and passion to serve our community, we had secured the business model for location-based sports performance.

This transformation was innovative for the industry: reducing the burden of rental overhead by effectively increasing the revenue generated per square foot via integrated partnerships that served athletes’ therapeutic, sport-specific & nutritional needs. In the next year we franchised 8 new locations, with varying sizes and integrations but the menu of revenues was there to be had for those looking to own a performance franchise. A media company saw this growth and acquired Velocity in 2015, to integrate in with other acquisitions that year, including a mobile app that never saw Fitbit coming.

The most common phrases in the facility were either ‘Without stress, there is no adaptation” or ‘Don’t talk about it, be about it”. I always liked them both, so I say ‘Partnerships are paramount.’