U.S. Affiliates Received $47 Million in Federal Relief Loans
At least 3,900 CrossFit affiliates in the U.S. have received assistance from either the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, according to Covid Bailout Tracker, a project operated by the nonpartisan watchdog group Accountable.us. CrossFit HQ also received $3.18 million back in April under previous owner Greg Glassman, but the money has since been paid back in full according to a spokesperson for CrossFit.
The numbers: At least 58% (3,900) of all U.S.-based affiliates received some form of direct economic assistance during the spring.
- Approximately $47 million was given out.
- Loans range from $283,127, which went to Solace, to $504, for Dibe CrossFit in Michigan.
- The average amount to gyms was $12,724.
Why it matters: $47 million might seem like a lot, but at an average sum of less than $13,000 per gym, the economic lifeline barely covers an affiliate’s operating expenses for more than a couple of months in smaller markets and not even a month in major, high rent markets like New York, San Diego and San Francisco. One clear example of this is the story of Solace New York, which received $283,127, one of the largest sums, and was still forced to close their doors on October 31, 2020.
- As many jurisdictions tighten restrictions again on businesses, it’s doubtful that these loans, many of which were distributed in April, will be enough to keep the industry afloat.
- At the peak of mandated gym closures, nearly every affiliate in the U.S. was shuttered, and today, the industry’s prospects are bleak.
- According to an analysis by fitness industry association IHRSA, one-quarter of the 40,000 US fitness facilities could close by the end of 2020, without additional economic help.
- A new survey released by the Community Gyms Coalition of more than 1,000 local, independent U.S. gyms found that 39% do not believe they will survive 2021 without federal relief from Congress.
- According to Yelp’s Local Impact Economic Report, the gym industry has a closure rate that’s nearly five times that of the restaurant industry.
The latest: For their part, HQ has no blanket policies when it comes to helping gyms, but it is considering relief on a case-by-case basis. HQ also declined to release statistics on how many gyms are late with their affiliate payments, they did note that the $3,000 expense is typically a small percentage of a business’s expenses.
- As a member of the Community Gyms Coalition, a lobbying bloc of major fitness companies, CrossFit is also pushing for $30 billion in direct, no-strings-attached grants for gyms, which would be used to cover up to a year of lost revenue.
- Unlike with PPP, business owners could apply the money toward any expense, including independent contractors, rent, insurance, and equipment. So far, the bill has yet to find a sponsor in Congress.
Worth noting: The data is incomplete because it omits gyms (affiliated and not) without “CrossFit” in their name. Still, the data is a useful snapshot of the aid that many gyms have received.
- For example, Crow Hill CrossFit, which received nearly $100,000, is listed under the name “Crow Hill Strength and Conditioning, LLC.”
- San Francisco CrossFit, which closed in November, received a PPP loan but wasn’t located in the tracker, meaning it could have been filed under a different name.