SoulCycle sees attendance drop after Trump fundraiser flap

Newly released data shows that attendance at SoulCycle classes has continued to drop a month after the exercise chain wandered into a political firestorm.

Reports surfaced in early August that Stephen Ross, a major investor in the fitness company, was set to host a fundraiser for President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo pressed on possible Senate run by Kansas media The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump digs in on Hurricane Dorian projection Trump’s mental decline is perfectly clear for those with eyes to see and ears to hear MORE, eliciting calls for boycotts from the chain’s urban members and a number of high-profile figures such as model Chrissy Teigen and actor Billy Eichner.

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Research shared with The Hill this week by Earnest Research, an analytics platform, found a continued drop in attendance for the indoor cycling health chain amid the boycott calls last month.

The weekend before the controversy hit, attendance was up 4.5 percent as compared to the same weekend in 2018, according to the Earnest Research data. By the weekend of Sept. 1, year-over-year attendance had dropped 7.5 percent.

In the weeks since news of the fundraiser broke, attendance has dropped by single digits compared to the same period last year, according to the Earnest Research numbers.

When comparing attendance to recent weeks, the group also found significant drop-offs. In New York City, attendance was down 27 percent for Aug. 23-25 — the last full weekend of August — as compared to the previous four weekends. Drops in the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California were also in the double digits.

Even in the Hamptons, where the Trump fundraiser took place, attendance was down 12 percent compared to previous weeks.

The figures suggest that the controversy has taken a toll on SoulCycle, which has worked hard to distance itself from the controversy.

SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan said last month that “SoulCycle in no way endorses the political fundraising event,” and that the company has “nothing to do with the event and does not support it.” The fitness chain, she added, was committed to “creating a safe space where all are welcome.”

SoulCycle did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday about the figures or how the boycott might have affected sales.

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