New CrossFit Competitive Structure

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Our initial Ignorance - The Sacrifice Seems Worth It

Written by American Gainz Nutrition

We’ve all seen it, and to be honest a large part of our community has felt it. The August 23rd edition of a Morning Chalk Up article titled, “How Greg Glassman is Reshaping the CrossFit Games” has absolutely been visceral for us. The competitive aspect of the sport and the structure of the competitive CrossFit season in which a lot of us train specifically around is said to be on the verge of drastic change. As a nutrition company that was inspired by a CrossFit affiliate, and whose founders are in boxes every day supporting the fitness community, we remain eager to learn more about the specifics and remain open while looking forward to embrace whatever changes come our way.

This said, there were several quotes, statements of fact, metaphors made, and changes suggested without addressing potential impacts – Let’s Go!

**Important – These opinions were obtained collaboratively from athletes, coaches, affiliate owners everywhere & solely based on the referenced article that went viral, to date - nothing officially has been released as far as we know.

CrossFit is Expensive ~ (Article Intent)

This is an understatement. We’ve always known the immense pressure that must have been on CrossFit Inc. for growing this fast. This is a burden that all successful small businesses face. By exploding so fast, the risk of not scaling correctly drastically increases. So why isn’t the money just piling up at HQ? We would venture to say the reason is around CrossFit not naturally being a spectator sport.

Unlike most professional sporting events, the stands at CrossFit events aren’t packed to the brim by enthusiasts that never played the sport they are watching. You ever notice who is watching CrossFit events? They are other CrossFitters, or friends & family of those competing. 50% of the audience at Regionals could hop the guard fence and be tagged into the action without it looking strange for 1 second, lol. Could you say the same thing for an NFL game? Seems like a fact, that ticket sales will most likely never cover the costs of those massive events CrossFit Inc. hosts. From a business perspective, CrossFit Inc. may HAVE to make changes. It may not be unfathomable to then think that Glassman is seeing this financial realization as an opportunity to also redirect the community to what’s most important and valuable to humanity, general health and wellness.

“We’re the fastest growing chain in world history, none of them did what we did in 10 years” ~ Greg Glassman - The Author compares the growth of CrossFit affiliates with the largest restaurant chains in the world.

Comparing “CrossFit Affiliates” that have a barrier-to-entry consisting of subjective writing, a Level 1 Certification, a working website, and an affiliate fee of $3,000, to a Corporate restaurant chain is not exactly apples-to-apples. Fact is, there are some top of the line affiliates with incredible coaching, and likewise there are some very rough affiliates, with not so hot coaching. Point is, the affiliates reflect the passion of the ownership of those affiliates. This is awesome but comes with wide variants. Fortunately for all of us who love donuts, Dunkin Donuts wouldn’t call an un-airconditioned space in a random warehouse covered in horse stall mats a “Dunkin Donuts” affiliate; I think we can all appreciate the very limited variants when it comes to the food & service we receive from these restaurant chains around the world. Was the intent of this comparison to say, “CrossFit is losing money because it’s grown so fast”? Moving On...

“With one athlete from each of 162 countries attending the CrossFit Games, as well as a dozen or so more through sanctioned events, the roster of athletes has expanded significantly. At minimum we’re likely to see close to 350 male and female athletes, which is up from 80 this year.”

No More Regionals & New Structure of Earning Games Invitation - Why:

As stated in the article, Regionals is just too expensive and under the current structure, hemorrhaging money would continue. So why not use this as opportunity to adopt a model that will yield a lot more growth for the global sport?

Growth of Sport: Without a doubt, if the goal is to grow an empire and create a viable enterprise, this is a solution. This will spread health & wellness to more places and faster. It will create a lot more incentive for athletes in other countries who are far behind in terms of exposure to this sport to get involved and caught up. This stated, it is hard to think that any negative impacts related to these structural changes will out weight the obvious mass global benefits. 

Affiliates: In working with over 200 affiliates within the USA, we’ve come to understand that there exists a good number of affiliates that have either an owner, a coach, a team, members, or even a competition class that train daily with long term goals of one day earning a regional invite. These are the coaches that bring the box together, the competitive athletes that help give the main floor members a reason to do the Open. These competitive athletes and the sanctioned CrossFit event that was Regionals is a large reason why some affiliates scrape together annually the several thousand dollars it takes to renew their official affiliate status. It’s not easy money owning a CrossFit affiliate, nor is it a path to riches; it won’t take much to convince owners that the benefits are no longer there.

$$ for Competitive Athletes & Teams: If you thought it was expensive to train year-round for the Games now, well it just got exponentially more expensive with less likelihood of making it. The competitive community will now be looking to travel the globe to find their path to the Games, potentially moving to one of 162 countries that have affiliates to train-abroad 😊. Must be nice. But what about those athletes who are already have 3 jobs to support their passion for the sport? This is basically saying that because you can’t afford to travel the world to win a CrossFit sanctioned competition or live abroad and train, sorry but your dreams of going to Games are gone. Think about all the bad ass athletes who call Australia their home; to fight for one additional opportunity to make the Games other than their single Open spot, where will they all need to travel?

Competitive to Ideological: We are all for the cause; how can any athlete dedicated to fitness not want to share the benefits with the globe and therefore help support the growth of this sport? This mentioned, is it then fair to say that by every country receiving a participation invite (trophy) to the Games by means of equal outcome versus equal opportunity that our once competitive portion of the sport is now compromised by Utopian ideals?

  • What about all those athletes who’ve literally sacrificed years to build individual brands around their CrossFit notoriety? 
  • What about the up and comers? Haley Adams, comes to mind. She was absolutely destined to dominate the Games. How can she not feel robbed if these changes go through? 
  • What about athletes that are consistently in the top 50 worldwide but live in the States? Unlike Europe, the USA is a single country (50 states), same with Canada (10 provinces). Europe (~50 countries), now gets 50 invites to the games? The USA gets 1 invite. Surely, we’re missing something as it sounds like Europe who has maybe 2+ times the population of people compared to the USA will receive 50 x more invites.

Yes, a lot more athletes get to compete at the Games, but as society generally understands, with equal outcome comes less quality. The variance in competitor fitness will now saturate the Games to a point that we’ll have to wait & see to be realized. Our honest hopes are that everything works out, its understood that the competitive side of the sport grew wings organically. This said, our best guess is despite a structure that’s less centered around competition, it’s hard to bet against a community who has a natural proclivity towards competition as well as to think that the business side of things won’t naturally catch up to support.

Until the official 2019 structure & rules are made public, let’s all give the benefit of doubt to CrossFit Inc. as American Gainz Nutrition would not exist if we never joined an affiliate, and fitness would not be this much fun!!! Stay Tuned!

~American Gainz Nutrition

1 Response

Devon Brack
Devon Brack

September 06, 2018

Great read guys! Curious to see how it all plays out.

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