The 21 fitness gyms that carry the Steve Nash Fitness World name could be forced to undergo renaming and rebranding work if allegations submitted by the namesake former NBA star are proven true in court.
Steve Nash is suing his former business partners for breach of contract and continued use of his name. A notice of civil claim filed in BC Supreme Court, obtained by Daily Hive, names SNFW Fitness BC Ltd., NBA Sacramento Kings co-owner Mark Mastrov and gym founder Leonard Schlemm as the defendants.
The dispute began in 2013 when Mastrov obtained a share in the ownership of the Kings. But NBA bylaws that regulate conflict of interest do not permit owners of NBA franchises to be financially involved with NBA players. Nash did not retire until last year.
As Mastrov was restricted from continuing any business dealings with Nash, he resigned as an officer of FWG Acquisition Ltd., the local company formed by Mastrov and Schlemm that has an interest in the fitness gym chain. All shares owned by Mastrov were also transferred to Schlemm, and SNFW Fitness BC Ltd. was incorporated shortly after.
However, this was done without notifying Nash and his company B & L Holding, which sold half of its shares in FWG Acquisition to each of Mastrov and Schlemm on October 14, 2014.
Since then, Nash has not been involved in the fitness gym chain, but his name and image continues to be used at all locations.
“Since October 14, 2014 SNFW Fitness BC Ltd. has continued to operate fitness facilities throughout British Columbia under the name ‘Steve Nash Fitness World’,” reads the notice.
“B & L Holdings, Inc. has received no compensation from SNFW Fitness BC Ltd. for the use of the name ‘Steve Nash’ to promote these facilities. Steve Nash has not, since October 14, 2014, had any involvement with the operation of the fitness facilities. He has not been a member of the Board of Directors of SNFW Fitnesss BC Ltd. He has not signed an Affidavit certifying he endorses the fitness facilities in any way.”
The notice also alleges that the defendants “misrepresented to the plaintiff (Nash) that the plaintiff was required to sell its shares causing damage to the plaintiff.”
As a result, Nash is seeking damages, costs, and an injunction on the continued use of his name and image in relation to the fitness gyms.
Nash opened his first fitness club within the then-new Hudson condominium building in downtown Vancouver in 2007. This 40,000-square-foot, three-storey sports club is considered as the flagship location of the fitness gym chain.
The brand later encompassed all Fitness World locations when Nash entered into a partnership with Mastrov and Schlemm and acquired the chain of BC gyms in 2009.
Both Mastrov and Schlemm were previously the owners of the 24 Hour Fitness, an American fitness gym chain they founded with over 400 gyms across 17 states.