The CrossFit Games made a major announcement Thursday afternoon, revealing via their Instagram page that they are “fully committed to planning a live competition with live media coverage,” and that they are currently focused on holding a competition at The Ranch in Aromas, CA for the 2020 CrossFit Games, in addition to evaluating options for a virtual competition.
This is huge: After weeks of speculation about the future of the 2020 Games, this announcement brings into focus what’s legitimately in the crosshairs for the CrossFit Games team as they adjust to a new landscape amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement also comes right after the United States President laid out a three-phase guideline for state Governors to begin opening up the country in the future.
What we know: First and foremost, the current restrictions in place in the state of California would need to change. Under the most recent isolation and shelter-in-place orders, the CrossFit Games would legally not be allowed to happen. Undoubtedly the CrossFit Games team is moving forward with the assumption that restrictions will have eased up by the time the Games begin in 3.5 months if a live event will be possible.
- The Games will not be public meaning no spectators, and anyone who purchased tickets, campsites, and hospitality packages will be issued a refund by Ticketmaster. Additionally, any exhibitors who have purchased spots for the Games will be issued refunds as well.
- There will be live media coverage, which would be provided in lieu of having spectators, to allow fans access to watch the competition unfold.
- Logistically this makes the most sense because CrossFit HQ is just 36 miles away from the Ranch, it’s in a remote location on private property, and regularly hosts seminars with plenty of space to host the competition. The 2008 Games for example, had over 300 athletes onsite.
What we don’t know: Quite a bit actually, and for as much as the announcement was revealing big picture-wise, it has spawned multiple logistical questions and details about what the competition would look like.
- Athletes and divisions: We don’t know if a competition at the Ranch would include all the originally planned divisions — individuals, teams, and age groups — and what would the final tally of athletes allowed to compete be. This includes any potential future Sanctional invitees as well as any plans to narrow the field via virtual competition.
- Competition dates: Would the competition proceed with the current event dates? Or would the freedom of operating on a property owned by Director of the Games, Dave Castro, and his family free up options to host different divisions on different dates and different weeks?
- Staffing and media: The plans for staffing numbers (judges, medical, scoring) and what type of media coverage will be present onsite will likely depend on how and when restrictions are rolled back.
It’s worth noting that there are a ton of developments that need to happen outside of CrossFit Inc.’s control and in all likelihood there will be enough red tape around the event to choke out Andre the Giant. It would likely be similar to the plan Dr. Anthony Fauci laid out for how pro sports could return.
- Athletes, staff, and anyone on site would need to be tested before and after, have temperatures checked regularly onsite, and be isolated accordingly during the competition. Access to testing would be crucial, and the equipment and venue would also be subject to thorough cleaning.
- California Governor Gavin Newsom (Go Broncos) has laid out the state’s guidelines towards rolling back the statewide stay-at-home orders.
- The Ranch is zoned in Monterey County, which out of California’s 58 counties in the state, places 42nd in terms of confirmed cases per capita. Neighboring Santa Cruz county, which has a slightly higher confirmed case rate, could start lifting restrictions as soon as May 4.
- International athletes could miss out regardless of what happens in California if restrictions in their native countries are not lifted by then, and they cannot travel, similar to Khabib Nurmagomedov in the UFC.
- The event could fall under “business operations,” for CrossFit Inc. given that the property is owned by an employee, and the only people on site are employed by CrossFit Inc. as well.
More info is expected to be released in the coming months, and it’s still entirely possible that everything moves online. For the sake of everyone still involved in the CrossFit Games season, the announcement was a nice clue into the direction that CrossFit Inc. in the near term.
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