The 2021 CrossFit Games Prize Purse Remains Unknown

January 18, 2021 by
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Over the past few years, the release of the CrossFit games rulebook has left the community with more questions than answers, especially athletes who rely on it as a playbook for the planning of their season. This years iteration is no different, specifically when it comes to earning possibilities in the 2021 season.

One big thing: Athlete payouts have been a staple of the rulebook since the 2013 season, that this year’s iteration of the rulebook is void of this key piece of information raises many questions. Chief among them is, what can athletes expect to earn if they make it to this year’s Games?

Remind me: When Reebok became the title sponsor of the Games for the 2011 season, the combined prize purse jumped from just over $50,000 for the 2010 Games to a staggering $1,000,000 in one year.

  • The growth of CrossFit as a sport coincided with the increase in prize purse and sponsorship. Soon afterwards the television contract with ESPN and later CBS followed helping in the growth and legitimacy to the sport.
  • Total payouts continued to rise during the ten years with Reebok providing the payments, ultimately ending with a total prize purse of $3.1 million this past season.

Cash payouts for winners by year:

  • 2007 = $500
  • 2008 = $1,500
  • 2009 = $5,000
  • 2010 = $25,000
  • 2011 = $250,000 (First year of Reebok title sponsorship)
  • 2012 = $250,000
  • 2013 = $250,000
  • 2014 = $275,000
  • 2015 = $275,000
  • 2016 = $275,000
  • 2017 = $285,000
  • 2018 = $300,000
  • 2019 = $300,000
  • 2020 = $300,000 (Final year of Reebok title sponsorship)
  • 2021 = ?

Worth noting: Back in November, CrossFit CEO, Eric Roza appeared on the Talking Elite Fitness podcast and stated that “it is likely but not certain that we will have a title sponsor for the Games in 2021 and beyond.”

  • Roza: “I think it is possible that the title sponsor will be a footwear company but it may not be, others have expressed interest, and I also think it’s very likely that we will have one or more strategic footwear partnerships, independent of whether those are title sponsors.”
  • Also, in his first town hall event, in August, Roza indicated that he would like more athletes to be able to make a better living as professional CrossFit athletes. “Can you imagine how many more athletes are going to make their living, and a really good living from CrossFit, if we have 1 billion viewers around the world?” he concluded.

The bottom line: The Games are scheduled to take place in less than seven months and the omission of the prize purse combined with the unknowns surrounding the Games semifinals, inhibits the professionalization of the sport. The Games, thanks to the prize purse Reebok provided, offered the largest single source of competition income for athletes, specifically the top Games athletes. There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has set back the planning for the season, but the athletes also bear the burden of preparing for a season not knowing what is at stake.

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