Breaking down barriers…Freemotion’s drive to create “clubs without walls”

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Jeff Esswein joins Freemotion to bolster content and digital offer. 

Freemotion, one of the most innovative global fitness companies, has appointed Jeff Esswein to its top team as Vice-President of Strategic Accounts & Digital Content. Jeff will work with the Freemotion team and its customer partners to push digital strategy and solutions in a bid to pivot from a purely bricks and mortar offer to a more digital, hybrid model of gym and health club operation.

Jeff started his career in medical fitness, working for Riverside Health System where he headed up its health and fitness division, and since then, he has amassed 30 years of industry experience. In the 1990s, he built and operated two 150,000 square feet, multi-purpose athletic facilities in his hometown of Pittsburgh, then transitioned to a co-owner / developer of ClubCom – growing it into the leading global provider of digital media networks for the fitness industry.

Having established himself as a highly regarded and forward-thinking business mind, Jeff became the COO of a successful, private broadcasting company – VELOCITY World Media – transforming the US-based satellite start-up from a domestic platform to a global leader. Prior to joining Freemotion, Jeff was operating as President of the Sports and Entertainment business for PCG Capital, where he directed Cool Springs Sports Complex, Wildwood Sports Complex, and Oxford Athletic Club in Pittsburgh – increasing the latter’s revenue by an impressive 44% in just two years.

Speaking of Jeff’s appointment, Dan Toigo, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Freemotion, said: “Jeff is one of the most respected individuals in the media and digital industry. Jeff’s expertise in both the digital content space – along with his understanding of the club market from an operator’s standpoint – brings a unique skill set to Freemotion and our strategic accounts business as we continue our growth initiatives.”

In his new role at Freemotion, Jeff will focus on developing and maintaining relationships with new and existing customers, while identifying opportunities for growth in all market segments, including global, national, regional, and hospitality. Jeff will also be Freemotion’s digital content expert and will be instrumental in pushing forward Freemotion’s iFit-enabled content-driven cardio equipment as the company ramps up its digital focus.

“Jeff’s ability to connect with business leaders and understand how to add relevant value to their companies is a perfect fit as we launch our iFit digital content platform focused on interactive personal training through Freemotion,” added Toigo.

A graduate of West Virginia University, Jeff was a member of the wrestling team and earned a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management/Business Administration. He has a life-long passion for health, fitness, wellness, and athletics, and is revelling the chance to take on-demand content from the consumer market into the commercial market and “complete the connection between the whole ecosystem” to benefit operators, trainers, and members.

“Every organisation, today more than ever, is in the content business and with ICON Health & Fitness, iFit, and Freemotion, we have a great opportunity to be the industry leader in digital fitness. Being able to take my insider, ownership perspective and work with operators of all sizes and in all sectors to see how technology can play into their facilities in the future is what really excites me,” began Jeff.

“I’ve always said that a club without walls is going to be a successful club, and this is exactly where we’re headed due to the global pandemic. Through ICON, iFit, and Freemotion, we’re in a unique position to be able to take the knowledge base from consumers and use it to help operators drive memberships. If a Freemotion facility is able to provide immersive, content-driven experiences that engage, excite, and motivate its members, then stay connected with them at home through the members’ own iFit-enabled equipment, consistency is maintained, members achieve better results, and fitness becomes a habit. This ultimately leads to greater member engagement and retention and an improved bottom line. The industry is becoming more technology-driven and we have the chance to not only take advantage of this but also to use it to maximise results for our customers.”


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