Peloton Interactive Inc. is looking to college campuses as a new source of growth, starting with the University of Michigan.
(Bloomberg) — Peloton Interactive Inc. is looking to college campuses as a new source of growth, starting with the University of Michigan.
The fitness company is kicking off a new college strategy that includes co-branding of apparel and bikes, discounts on its app for students, and social media campaigns that feature athletes. Michigan will be the first such partnership — a deal that includes replacing the current bikes at the school’s football stadium, known as the Big House, with Peloton equipment.
The agreement follows a push to sell more Peloton equipment and services to businesses. The company unveiled a business-to-business program last week, aiming to work with employers to offer Peloton as a perk to workers. It’s also looking to get more Peloton bikes into places like hotels, apartment buildings and local gyms.
After a rocky couple of years, the New York-based company is trying to rely less on the home-fitness buffs that initially made its stationary bikes a hot commodity. Peloton saw demand surge during the early days of the pandemic, only for sales to slump after people began returning to offices and gyms. The company is expected to report its sixth straight quarter of declining sales when it posts results on Wednesday.
Chief Executive Officer Barry McCarthy — a veteran of Netflix Inc. and Spotify Technology SA — took the helm last year and has been trying to turn Peloton around. His overhaul has included layoffs, management changes and offloading businesses.
Expanding into colleges brings an opportunity to sell both to students and well-heeled alumni. With the Michigan partnership — negotiated by the sports marketing firm Learfield — Peloton will support football, basketball and hockey, as well as Olympics-bound athletes. The company will provide fitness instruction and in-venue activations of Peloton services.
Peloton bikes in Michigan colors — blue and maize — will be visible on the sidelines of football games. And the company will be sponsoring the “Maize Rage” student cheering section at men’s and women’s basketball games. Students will be able to get Peloton’s App One for $6.99, rather than the usual $12.99.
The company also will launch social media campaigns featuring student-athletes — with an eye toward getting its brand in front of more Gen Z consumers.
“Gen Z is a very attractive audience for us,” said Greg Hybl, general manager of Peloton for Business. “Any opportunity to get in front of them while they’re in college — it is really appealing to us.”
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