Two Gold’s Gym franchisees have rebranded their four Bay Area Gold’s Gyms to Fitness SF.
The rebranding comes two years after Gold’s Gym franchisees Sebastyen and Zsolt Jackovics, through Director of Operations Don Dickerson, publicly denounced a political contribution made by Robert Rowling, CEO of TRT Holdings, the parent company of Gold’s Gym International (GGI), Irving, TX. Rowling made a $2 million contribution to American Crossroads, a political group co-founded by former George W. Bush advisor Karl Rove. Gay rights organizations accused the group of supporting candidates who hold anti-gay positions.
The Jackovics brothers stated that they disagreed with the contribution because members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community are members of their clubs, two of which are in San Francisco while the other two are in Oakland and Marin, CA. The two vowed to leave the brand upon the expiration of their contract with GGI. That contract expired last Saturday.
Whether or not Rowling’s political contribution was the main reason for the split remains unclear. Dickerson could not immediately be reached for comment. In a recent interview with San Francisco TV station KCBS, Sebastyen Jackovics said, “Everything that needed to be said was said two years ago about that issue, and we’re really just focused on our future as Fitness SF.” Jackovics added that he is bound by a contract not to talk about why he parted ways with Gold’s Gym.
Dave Reiseman, vice president of communications for GGI, told Club Industry that GGI had been in negotiations with the Jackovics brothers to renew their contract.
“We had actually been in discussions with them in recent months to renew as they expressed interest in doing so but ultimately couldn’t come to terms,” Reiseman said. “We wish them all the best.”
Two years ago, GGI confirmed its support of the LGBT community and said Rowling’s contribution was made independent of Gold’s Gym.