24 Hour Fitness, San Ramon, CA, announced Wednesday it will no longer carry the Lance Armstrong name on its signature clubs.
24 Hour is one of several companies, including Nike and bicycle manufacturer Trek, who severed ties with Armstrong on Wednesday in the wake of a report by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which detailed widespread doping through banned drugs and blood transfusions by Armstrong and his cycling teams. In August, Armstrong was stripped of his seven consecutive Tour de France titles he won from 1999 to 2005 and was banned from professional cycling.
“24 Hour Fitness remains committed to helping our members improve their lives through fitness and does not condone the use of performance-enhancing drugs or procedures,” the company said in a statement released Wednesday. “Given the evidence surrounding Lance Armstrong’s alleged actions, we have determined that our business relationship with Armstrong no longer aligns with our company’s mission and values. Over the coming weeks, we plan to remove the Lance Armstrong brand from our six co-branded fitness clubs and further improve these facilities to enable and inspire our members to achieve their fitness goals.”
24 Hour has three Lance Armstrong signature clubs in his hometown of Austin, TX, plus one each in Round Rock, TX, Tualatin, OR, and Denver. The first Lance Armstrong signature club opened in 2005 in Austin. That year, 24 Hour also announced it would become a sponsor of Armstrong’s Discovery Channel cycling team, whose jerseys featured the company’s logo, and pledged support of the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
24 Hour no longer has any mention of the Lance Armstrong clubs on its website. In May, the company posted a YouTube interview with Armstrong from its William Cannon signature club in Austin. (The video was recently removed.) After Armstrong’s Tour de France titles were stripped in August, 24 Hour reportedly said it was monitoring the situation.
24 Hour currently features Andre Agassi, Shaquille O’Neal and Derek Jeter signature clubs. Magic Johnson has also served as a sports celebrity endorser of 24 Hour signature clubs, an idea spawned under the leadership of 24 Hour founder Mark Mastrov. In a 2005 statement announcing the partnership with Armstrong, Mastrov praised Armstrong’s hard work, determination, positive attitude and persistence.
“I haven’t had any conversations with Lance or his team in some years now, so it’s hard to comment on what (24 Hour President and CEO) Carl (Liebert) and his team have discussed with them,” Mastrov told Club Industry Wednesday night. “In the end, Nike dropped him, and that speaks to the issue at hand. So 24 Hour doing the same seems to make good business sense to me.”
Nike, in addition to terminating its endorsement contract with Armstrong, also announced it would take his name off the Lance Armstrong Fitness Center at its headquarters in Beaverton, OR.
Earlier on Wednesday, Johnson Health Tech, the Cottage Grove, WI-based makers of Livestrong-branded cycles, said it will continue its support of Armstrong’s Livestrong foundation.