At Quarterly Town Hall, Roza Urges Gyms to Support COVID Relief Legislation, Announces 1,000 Affiliates Have Returned

February 12, 2021 by
Photo Credit: Eric Roza (instagram.com/rozaeric/)
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On Friday morning, CrossFit LLC hosted its quarterly Affiliate Town Hall in the form of a pre-recorded 45-minute discussion with CrossFit CEO Eric Roza, General Manager of Sport Dave Castro, and General Manager of Training Nicole Caroll.

The details: Notable topics included updates about how CrossFit will provide business support to affiliates — a promise Roza made during the first Town Hall in August 2020 — COVID-19, the upcoming CrossFit Open, and how CrossFit has been working to rebuild trust in the community in recent weeks.

One big thing: CrossFit was one of the entities behind a recent bill that was introduced to US Congress that, should it pass, will offer $30 billion in relief to gyms suffering from the pandemic. According to Roza, this could mean as much as one year’s lost income for an affiliate owner, not in the form of a loan, but in the form of a grant.

  • But it can’t be done without the support of the community, Roza explained. “We need your help,” said Roza, urging gym owners, coaches, and CrossFIt members to head to gymscoalition.org and let their congressional representatives know they support this legislation. 
  • “We think we have a very reasonable shot at it…it’s not a slam dunk by any means, but the number one determinant right now is going to be these members of congress hearing from as many of you as possible,” he added.

Affiliate Support:

The CrossFit OnRamp Course: In response to affiliates asking CrossFit to help them attract new members, Carroll announced the new CrossFit OnRamp Course that will be rolled out in 2021, first as a test run in limited markets, and eventually to the masses. The ultimate goal of the course is to “bring members into your gyms,” Carroll said. 

  • The course is an online, self-paced course designed to reach people who are hesitant, or don’t feel ready to walk into an affiliate. It’s designed to give them the “confidence,” Carroll explained, to sign up with an affiliate. In fact, the final session of the course involves helping the athlete schedule and complete a session at an affiliate near them.

Tools over rules: Roza is also currently working with a handful of long-time CrossFit gym owners from all over the United States — who together have 130 years of gym ownership experience — to come up with best business practices, which will eventually be distributed to the broader community.

  • While Roza didn’t reveal too many details about this during the Town Hall, he said they’re working to provide business support to affiliates in the form of useful systems, processes and tools. “Tools over rules,” he said. 

Rebuilding trust: “We have also been working very hard to rebuild trust,” Roza said. They have done this through what Roza called the “most proactive outreach in the history of CrossFit.”

  • 25 team members sent out more than 10,000 emails and had 2,500 phone conversations with affiliates they hadn’t heard from in a while, as well as affiliates who hadn’t renewed their affiliate agreement, or whose dues were overdue.
  •  “A lot of these (calls) were actually an hour or more. We had very emotional conversations…There were tears on both sides at times, as stories were shared about trying to keep gyms in business, keep coaches paid, keep rent paid, keep members fit through, just unbelievably challenging times,” Roza said. 
  • The result: More than 1,000 gyms whose affiliations had lapsed have since rejoined the CrossFit community, and Roza said he’s expecting another 500 to return in the next 60 days. 

DEI Council: At the beginning of the Town Hall, Roza announced the inaugural 10 members of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. 

  • They include: Coaches Casey Jordan and Erin Comollo, Affiliate Owners Jennifer Hunter-Marshall, Wylie Belasik, Athena Perez, and Dillon King, CrossFit Games athlete Chandler Smith, CrossFit Games Medical Team Member Amy West, and CrossFit gym members Mason C. Alberts and Shaun Ward.

The Open: Castro briefly spoke about the upcoming Open. While he didn’t reveal much, he addressed the new foundation division, explaining that its purpose is to “increase the inclusivity” to make the Open accessible to absolutely anyone of any fitness level. Though CrossFit will put out standards for this division, Castro said they’re also recommending coaches help their athletes scale even further if need be. 

  • Also, the no equipment division will involve one piece of equipment, after all: A dowel, broomstick, or stick of some.
  • As for the RX division, all Castro promised was that there would be “new things to be seen” and “new challenges to be tackled” in “a very fun test,” he said.

The future: Roza expressed great optimism for CrossFit’s growth, saying they’re on track to bring on 750 new affiliates in 2021, a number he thinks is conservative, especially in a post-COVID world. 

  • “I am highly confident that we will see affiliates opening at more than double this rate, especially outside the US, once we get on the other side of COVID,” he said. 

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