Atlas Games Postpones Indefinitely, Highlights Sanctionals Predicament
Another Sanctional is taking a potential pass on the 2020 season, as the Atlas Games provided an update today that indicated that they’ll be looking towards the 2021 season as the next time when they could host their event. The update comes on the heels of a tweet from the official CrossFit Games twitter account stating that “The Fittest on Earth will be crowned,” and three other Sanctional events changing course. The Lowlands and French Throwdown will be forgoing their 2020 events, while the Rogue Invitation will take place online, and none of them will not send an athlete or team to the Games this season.
A sign of the times: The Atlas Games were less than 24 hours away from the start of competition when the plug got pulled on their event. The heartbreaking turn soon snowballed into worldwide lockdowns and the postponement of nearly every Sanctional thereafter. The update they provided today gives a much bleaker outlook on the Atlas Games’ future beyond just this season, but they’re not alone. The details of the update are indicative of the various dilemmas that many events face regardless of what CrossFit HQ does with the Games.
Red tape restrictions: One of the key factors in the Atlas Games update was the recent development that the Quebec government is calling for all sporting events to be canceled until August 31. Unless something changes very quickly, this puts an end to the chances that the Atlas Games can take place this season.
- Every Sanctional will have to deal with this, at least on some level whether it be at the city, state/provincial, or national level and it’s safe to say the concerns of each individual event aren’t high on the bureaucratic to-do list.
- The remaining Sanctionals take place in 10 different countries, meaning 10 different sets of governments at a minimum that need to sign off before anything moves forward.
- Even if the green light is given, there is still the question of what exactly will be allowable once things open up, and it’s more than likely there will be some restrictions on event size and spectator allowances.
The current financial burden is huge: The Atlas Games were in a particularly rough spot — the day the event had to shutter meant upwards of a $30,000 loss alone due to the costs associated with having already begun the setup and transport process onsite. But the financial strain of the postponements and cancellations are widespread across the board.
- Fees for facilities, vendors, and other amenities, have most likely been paid already prior to the postponement, with most of that money coming from athlete registration, sponsor agreements, and ticket sales.
- Postponing the event to later in the year doesn’t necessarily mean that money comes back in the pocket of the event and they’re more than likely still on the hook financially for those expenses.
- As a result, issuing immediate, full refunds for things like spectator tickets, athlete registration, vendor/exhibitor fees, and sponsor fees puts a massive financial strain on the event that now has to float huge amounts of money with no guaranteed return.
- Most events cannot afford this, and the Atlas Games stated as much, revealing that they would go under if they had to reimburse everyone, but that they’re providing multiple options for athletes and fans to put their money towards a future investment in the event if they so choose.
The difference a year makes: The previous three events to make a definitive call for this season were all second-year Sanctionals that already have a year under their belt to iron out any wrinkles and potentially build financial and logistical security.
- Even though most events existed prior to being sanctioned, expectations and implications change after securing the Sanctional license and the growth and improvement of an event from year one to year two cannot be taken for granted.
- Seven first-year events remain on the schedule, and it remains to be seen if they’ll have to wait another year before they actually get to debut as a Sanctional similar to the Atlas Games.
Bottom line: This is a situation that no one planned or hoped for, but that everyone is feeling the ramifications of at some level. The financials of this current situation are extremely tricky, and there are so many different factors at play here that each event and situation deserves a little slack and understanding. If there was ever a situation that demanded a “one day at a time,” mentality, it is this one. Patience is a virtue here.