Pitbull Signs With Echelon as Exercise-Bike Rivalry Heats Up


Pitbull is investing in Echelon Fitness Multimedia LLC in a deal that links his music and party vibes to the exercise-bike business as fitness companies vie for home-workout content.

The Grammy-winning musician will have a dedicated channel on Echelon, a Goldman Sachs-backed competitor to cycling giant Peloton Interactive Inc., as part of a multiyear agreement set to be announced Tuesday. He’ll also help design a co-branded bike, release an anthem for the brand as a single on his upcoming album and take on an advisory role with the company, guiding executives on content rights and deals. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

These types of partnerships offer new opportunities for the entertainment industry, which isn’t taking full advantage of fitness as a platform for its work, Pitbull said in an interview. The complementary nature of the industries can provide artists a direct conduit to existing or new fans, he said.

“Nobody’s really looking at it in that way,” said Pitbull, whose real name is Armando Christian Perez. “There’s no fitness world without music.”

Exercise companies are battling for exclusive content as the home-workout industry rides a wave of momentum, even with gyms coming back after mass shutdowns due to pandemic restrictions. Peloton, which went public in 2019, signed Beyonce to a long-term partnership in November to curate themed workouts and has made other deals with the likes of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Prince’s estate.

At Echelon, Pitbull will have an entire channel, called “Ride With Pitbull,” and the business will have exclusive access to his music catalog in the fitness sector. The brand will also be integrated into Pitbull’s upcoming concert tour.

“We will create our own meta-verse in the fitness world,” he said.

‘Entertainment Platform’

The Chattanooga, Tennessee-based company debuted its first connected bike in 2017 as a cheaper alternative to Peloton, and now sells its equipment at retailers like Walmart Inc., Target Corp. and Costco Wholesale Corp. The company has raised about $100 million from investors including Goldman Sachs’s growth equity fund, North Castle Partners and United Talent Agency.

Echelon often works with celebrities on its classes, hosting events ranging from rides to Lady Gaga’s hits to boy-band-themed Fridays with Nsync’s Joey Fatone. It’s currently in talks with other artists, including a country group, though the company wouldn’t share names.

“I’ve been trying to make it an entertainment platform as much as a fitness platform,” Echelon Chief Executive Officer Lou Lentine said in an interview. “People can get burnt out on fitness, but if you can entertain them, they’re going to come back.”

Pitbull has been a busy investor in recent years, making several deals with businesses such as Nascar team Trackhouse Racing, cold-brew maker Made Coffee and Clmbr workout machines. He also has a charter-school nonprofit called Slam in his home state of Florida.

Lentine said he went to Miami and met with Pitbull on a yacht as they worked out the arrangement earlier this year, after connecting through his dancers, the Most Bad Ones, who’ll also be involved in Echelon classes. Pitbull already had an idea for the anthem, the CEO recalls.

“He grabs an iPhone, walks over to a speaker, plugs it in and he starts dancing,” said Lentine. “Then he goes, ‘I don’t know about you, but I feel good.’”

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