THE CROSSFIT GAMES WILL BE DEAD IN 5 YEARS
Right off the bat, this is an opinion piece. If you don't like my opinion, please understand that probably just means I'm smarter than you. Kidding, unless I am.
We all know the opening remarks at this point; Glassman sent shockwaves through the community when he announced that Regionals were going away, Sanctionals were the new process, and the Games were changing big time. We have now experienced almost a completely new qualification season, one that truthfully I was really looking forward to. In my eyes, it was like CrossFit had its own season. It has not turned out as I had anticipated in my mind's eye, and my opinions have completely changed. I give the CrossFit Games 5 years max until it is dead in the water. Allow me to explain.
First, let's talk Sanctionals. Some of the Sanctional events this year were fun. Dubai I felt was broadcast very well, as an example. But at the same time, many of them were a mess. For God's sake, Wodapalooza was even a shit show to try and watch, and everyone thought that was the for sure best competition to view because of its history and big names involved. Needless to say, Sanctionals did not replace Regionals as we had once hoped it would, from a viewership perspective as well as a competition perspective. For starters, some people have to earn their invites while others are just invited without causality. Right away we are now unsure if the fittest are really getting their fair shot at these events. Additionally, I have spoken with people who have been directly involved with some of these events, and all have commented about the questionable programming, lack of strong officiating, and the general step back that the Sanctionals have taken from what competition was like a year ago.
When Glassman pulled the plug on Regionals and the Games as we know it, with it went many of the CrossFit Games staff. All the media people, all the organizers, pretty much everyone but Castro and a handful of others, totally gone. At first, I thought, well they can just hire everyone back freelance to cover the Games. But that wouldn't make a lick of sense, right? Like why would you fire the media team just to hire the media team? Especially when we think about WHY the media team was fired. To save money, sure, but also because Greg did not want the Games to be the face of CrossFit. Greg did not like that competition was the most publicized thing about CrossFit. So that begs the question, why would Greg Glassman go out of his way to make sure the Games are the same viewing spectacle, or better, than they were before? It would go against his purpose for making these changes in the first place.
The other elephant in the room is straight up popularity. CrossFit was a fad, people. Effective, life-changing, but for many just a fad. CrossFit caught fire and started to grow very quickly. To manage the increased demand, more and more seminar staff members were hired. More seminar courses were created, designed to fit the niche parts of CrossFit that people wanted to learn more about. Gyms started popping up all over the place, saturating the market. Already, this has begun to change. Nowadays you are way more likely to hear that a gym is closing their doors than opening new ones. Fewer affiliates mean less money for CrossFit Inc. People are no longer attending seminars at such a fast rate to get their certifications, and even fewer are choosing to renew their cert. Personally, my L1 expires this fall, and I am up in the air about recertification. All of a sudden, CrossFit is bleeding.
The Games was an opportunity every year to peak interest in a different way. Glassman has scoffed at the Games attracting people to CrossFit, thinking it sends a bad message and he wants to show people that general health is the number one priority. But let me say, how many people are playing basketball, or baseball, or football or soccer in this world, because they were a little kid and saw it on tv? Wanted to give it a try, wanted to be the next great of the sport, and dedicated themselves to it?
Every. Single. One.
There is not a man woman or child out there who stuck with a sport as a youth that they did not admire first from afar. Glassman has pulled the plug on that spark. When the CBS Sports deal is up for the Games, there is no chance that a TV deal will continue. The Games are shrinking back into obscurity, and with it, all of CrossFit will continue to suffer.
It is blatantly obvious that Glassman does not enjoy the Games, that he does not want the Games to be big. At the end of the day, he is the boss, and he will not put resources towards something he does not want. Lack of resources will lead to a poor product. I cannot fathom how much of a mess the Games will be this year with zero money going towards it, less than half the manpower involved in the planning and execution, and oh, by the way, several HUNDRED more competitors than in years past from all over the world. I have been lead to believe by people close to HQ, that even some of the people who have played pivotal roles in Games planning in the past haven't the slightest clue what's going on This year.
It's going to be ugly.
And sadly, a year or two of a terrible product will result in a lack of interest from the fanbase. Once the fanbase is gone, what do we have left? A handful of die-hard athletes and fans, gathering somewhere with no cameras or lights, I dunno maybe like a Ranch, to throw down because they love it no matter what. We are reverting back to the beginning. It's just a matter of time before the Games is dead. Greg wants it dead, the money and manpower are not there to keep it alive, and it will die. 5 years, at most, you heard it here first. RIP to the Reebok CrossFit Games.