CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bally Total Fitness (NYSE: BFT - news) today announced its first international franchise agreement adding its brand and expertise to the newest fitness center in The Bahamas. This new center is being developed by Doctors Hospital Health System Limited (BISX: DHS), the preeminent medical care provider in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, to provide both rehabilitative and general fitness services to patients and customers. Building upon Bally Total Fitness's current franchise strategy, this agreement will, for the first time, extend Bally's brand reach into an international market outside continental North America.

"Bally Total Fitness' four million U.S. members conduct more than 125 million workouts in our clubs each year," said John Wilson, senior director of franchising for Bally Total Fitness. "Branching into the international marketplace is a natural step in our continued expansion."

Through this franchise agreement, Bally will provide training, systems, and guidance for the new Bally Total Fitness branded facility which is scheduled to open early in the second quarter. Additionally, its members will have the option of using any of over 385 clubs located in the United States and Canada. The facility will be on the grounds of Western Medical Plaza, the wellness facility owned and operated by Doctors Hospital Health System, which is located in Nassau, on New Providence Island, home of 60 percent of The Bahamas' 300,000 people.

"Bally Total Fitness's top position in the American fitness industry made it the obvious branding choice and partner when we decided to operate fitness facilities in the Bahamas," said Barry Rassin, chairman and CEO of Doctors Hospital Health System. "The nearly 300,000 people of the Bahamas have been underserved in terms of fitness and rehabilitation facilities. With Bally Total Fitness's brand, we can provide the highest quality of fitness and wellness services." In addition to this being Bally Total Fitness's first international franchise, the agreement is the latest in a series of similar partnerships with rehabilitative service providers in the United States. Bally Total Fitness hosts 110 rehabilitative facilities in clubs in the United States through partnerships including those with Kessler Rehabilitation Corporation, headquartered in New Jersey, the University of Chicago Hospitals in Chicago and San Diego-based SC SportsTherapy Corp.

Doctors Hospital Health System is the pre-eminent health care delivery system in The Bahamas and Caribbean region. Started as Rassin Hospital in 1955, the Company's vision is to operate the group as an integrated healthcare system providing the finest level of care and services to The Bahamas and its visitors.

Bally Total Fitness is the largest, and only nationwide, commercial operator of fitness centers, with approximately 4 million members and over 385 facilities located in 28 States and Canada. With more than 125 million annual visits to its fitness centers, Bally offers a unique platform for distribution of a wide range of products and services targeted to active, fitness-conscious adult consumers. In addition to agreements with the University of Chicago Hospitals, Kessler Rehabilitation Institute and Chamberlin Chiropractic, the Company's co-marketing partners include Pepsi-Cola Company, AOL Time-Warner, Novartis, Kraft Foods, Sprint, MBNA America, Sunkist Growers, Household International and Procter & Gamble, among others.