Skip to content

400: How the New York Sports Club is Rebuilding Post-Pandemic with Kari Saitowitz, Chief Marketing and Creative Officer

Kari Saitowitz, Chief Marketing & Creative Officer at NYSC

Kari Saitowitz is a baseball fanatic, the founder of Fhitting Room, and currently serves as the Chief Marketing and Creative Officer for the New York Sports Club. She graduated from the Wharton School with a strategic management and marketing focus and got her first job at American Express. From there, she leaned into her passion for marketing and decided to pursue her MBA. After graduating from Harvard Business School, Kari worked at Pepsi until she had her son. After his birth, she started meeting with a personal trainer who also happened to be in business school, and their conversations led her to become an “accidental entrepreneur” as she launched Fhitting Room in 2012. Business was booming until COVID changed everything. In 2022, NYSC acquired Fhitting Room and brought Kari on as their Chief Marketing and Creative Officer.

In this episode, Alan and Kari discuss her path to creating Fhitting Room, how she ended up at NYSC, the complexity of their organizational overhaul and rebrand, and all the twists and turns that have happened along the way. NYSC is a long-standing brand, having recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. At the peak, there were over 200 clubs, but after closing many during the pandemic, there are now just under 50. Over the past few years, the NYSC has suffered from growing pains as it rebounded from the pandemic, shifted from a public to a private company, and brought in a new CEO. Now, in the rebuild phase, the focus is on repairing their damaged reputation and renewing trust.

Kari is currently leading NYSC in a brand comeback by bringing all NYSC brands together under one roof in both name and operation. To execute the rebrand, Kari’s main infrastructure goals have been consolidating the backend tech, implementing automation, and bolstering the NYSC brand. These efforts have unified their brand identity, increased efficiency and productivity, and improved the member experience. Now their biggest marketing objectives are increasing brand awareness, showing they are open and investing, growing membership, and deepening relationships to improve retention. They are also developing partnerships and creating activations with Garmin, Under Armor, and Hyperice to enhance the member experience, community unification, overall wellness, and build upon the NYSC mission of changing lives through fitness.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The founding of Fhitting Room and Kari’s path to NYSC
  • How Kari and her team are repairing reputational damage after a huge transition
  • Practical aspects of a complete brand overhaul

Key Highlights:

  • [02:00] 7 MLB events in 7 days across 5 cities
  • [04:35] From “accidental entrepreneur” to CMO
  • [11:30] Pivoting the Fhitting Room through COVID
  • [14:00] Where is NYSC today, and how does Fhitting Room fit in?
  • [16:30] Rebuilding the value proposition
  • [18:55] Consolidating complexity
  • [25:40] Meeting people where they are
  • [28:45] Garmin, Under Armor, and Hyperice, oh my!
  • [31:15] Celebrating 50 years of NYSC
  • [33:35] Learning to believe in herself and her abilities
  • [36:55] Enjoy the journey and take more risks.
  • [38:55] The AI portion of the show
  • [39:40] The power of individual creators and influencers
  • [42:00] The complexity and fragmentation of media 

Resources Mentioned: 

Follow the podcast: 

Connect with the Guest: 

Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart: 

Post-Production Credits:

Privacy Preference Center