The Business Year

Adnan Al Khalif, CEO of Leejam Sports Company

SAUDI ARABIA - Sports

Adnan Al Khalaf

CEO, Leejam Sports Company

Bio

Adnan Al Khalaf holds an Executive MBA from Alyamamah University and a master’s degree of international business management from INSEEC business school. He has over 20 years of management experience. Prior to joining Leejam Sports Company, he worked in a number of executive positions as CEO and vice president in a number of companies in the medical, services, manufacturing, retail, and distribution sectors, the last of which was with the Saudi Telecom Group (STC).

“We work with leading brands to integrate physical activity with technology.”

Adnan Al Khalaf, CEO of Leejam Sports Company, talks to TBY about Vision 2030, membership rates, and female participation in sports.

How are Leejam’s vision and mission aligned with the objectives set out in the government’s agenda?

Adnan Al Khalaf: Vision 2030, the Quality of Life Program and the new national sports strategy combined with the events related to mass participation and Sports for All Federations have supported us and are accelerating our initiatives and scaling up our services. Vision 2030 has made us more confident, as there is a national vision behind our operations. We have tailored our new strategy based on Vision 2030 and will be taking further steps by investing more in making the business more sustainable and not just limiting it to the commercial side and profits. We are focused on how we can add value to the community and connect it to the quality-of-life initiatives related to people’s habits, their food consumption, and healthy lifestyles. We want to be part of the change. In general, the vision affirms our direction and allows us to step outside of our boxes. We are working on our offerings with more than 14 sports and fitness programs, and we expect to diversify our offering to more than 50 programs. For example, we have started providing diving courses and operating paddle courts in our gyms.

In 2021, the company recorded a 10% increase in memberships. What specific initiatives and activities have you targeted to attract the highest number of individuals into the sport industry?

Adnan Al Khalif: Leejam and Fitness Time have added value to our community. Many international giants came to the market some 20 years ago and run their businesses without having a tailored approach to the local markets. This is what we are here for. We understand what drives members to sign up, renew, and remain with us. For example, we discovered that most youths work in malls, F&B, or retail until late at night, and we, therefore, started 24/7 gyms to target this segment. We will also work to attract more and more women to sports. We want to encourage them to continue doing sports and be healthy. We understand our customer’s behaviors, and we are here to make people’s lives better and enhance their healthy lifestyles. Earlier, we announced our target to have 500,000 members by 2025. This is achievable but we really want to make sure it is not all about the number. We are also linking it with other additional matrices to make a real change.

What is your strategy to boost female participation in sports?

Adnan Al Khalif: We have our concept for the male segment and already know in detail the segment by age, group, region, and preferences; however, within the female segment, we are still in the discovery phase in terms of what our female clientele want. As we are the largest operator, and we take this seriously, we continue to learn their preferences, which part of the gym they use the most, and so on. We have invested more in that area since we discovered the segment here. In July, we partnered with the largest group exercise operator worldwide to provide its offering just for women. The women segment is an untapped market. Even if we are operating with 40 gyms, it is still underexplored. This is definitely a segment that we will focus more in 2023.

How can technology support the creation of modern, appealing spaces?

Adnan Al Khalif: We have applied technologies to track the workouts from the equipment that we are buying. We work with leading brands to integrate physical activity with technology. Our board recently approved our digital transformation strategy for the next three years, and it is called The Connected Gym. Whatever we will do now will be connected to the system in general, so we can let our members track what they are doing while ensuring a seamless experience. We have looked at examples from around the world, from Miami to Singapore and Australia. We can have an edge in terms of being pioneers within the fitness industry worldwide.

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