It’s Official! The Open Moves Back To February
Wednesday marked the first public Town Hall for Eric Roza as the owner and CEO of CrossFit following the news of the finalization of the company acquisition last week. During the roughly 80 minute livestream Roza answered a variety of questions posed by the community moderated by Director of Training Nicole Carroll.
The third question of the Town Hall directly asked when the 2021 CrossFit Games Open will be and Roza confirmed what most of the CrossFit community had suspected since the 2020 Games were moved to October: The Open is moving back to February.
Back to the future: The confirmation that the Open will return to its original home at the beginning of the calendar year represents the second time in as many seasons that the Open will move dates, with the latest move likely being permanent for the foreseeable future.
- When speaking on the move, Roza noted that the Open will “lead cohesively to a CrossFit Games,” and that in 2021 he was eyeing a goal of 500,000 registered participants for the Open. He also said that while this “doesn’t fit with all the event schedules of some of our event partners, and I’m sympathetic to that, there’s an overwhelming demand [for a February Open].”
- Director of the CrossFit Games, Dave Castro, posted to Instagram shortly after the revelation stating that the Open was moving “back to where it belongs,” and it is no surprise that Castro was not a fan of the original move and he has stated as much recently during various interviews.
Setting the table: Roza also revealed that the 2021 CrossFit Games will likely be held at a later date than in years past which he hopes can put the sport back on the right path towards growth and increasing participation on all levels.
- Covid proofing: Pushing the start date of the season back also gives Roza’s team more time to plan the 2021 season under the assumption that significant adjustments will still be needed to account for the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensure that the season can progress forward regardless.
- A lofty goal: Roza also added that on top of the 500,000 registrants he hopes the Open can get in 2021, a million Open participants “in a few years,” is the larger goal in his team’s crosshairs along with a live viewership of one billion people that would put the sport on par with sports like tennis.
The move makes sense for a variety of reasons including the support it provides affiliates by having a reliable benchmark for clients to train for in the beginning of the calendar year. It also creates a more natural off season between the Games and the Open during the holiday season months at the end of the calendar year.
Let’s face it, after two years of declining Open registration — in 2020 registration fell to just over 239,000 putting it back to pre-2015 numbers — anything that puts the Open and the sport back on the right track is a welcome change.