Open Registrations Reverse Trend, Surge Past 2020

March 15, 2021 by
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The CrossFit Games Open is officially back on the growth track. 

A massive surge in registration over the weekend put the total number of registrations past the 2020 mark before settling at a final count of 263,529.

One big thing: The final tally reverses a two season-long trend of declining registration in the Open following a peak in 2018 of over 400,000 athletes, and coming off a final number of 239,106 registrants in 2020.

  • In a span of two seasons following sweeping changes to the sport and massive layoffs within the media division of the company Open participation dropped by over 40%, before the 2020 season was crippled by the pandemic. 
  • Over 90,000 athletes registered in the final week, which includes the days following the first Open announcement, where registration bumps can be dictated by the accessibility of the first workout.

Back on track: While the increase in participation from 2020 may not be huge from a numbers perspective, the sheer fact that there was an increase at all given the current climate of global affairs is a mark in the win column for CEO Eric Roza and the new leadership group.

  • Large portions of the world are still under heavy restrictions as a result of the pandemic, and major CrossFit markets like the United Kingdom and Brazil have been hit hard in recent months. With people stuck at home, offering reasonable competition opportunities including equipment free workout options was a key addition to help entice those that may have otherwise been deterred from signing up.
  • The full economic impact of the pandemic is still unknown but as budgets and resources for people across the globe dwindle, certain expenditures and luxuries go by the wayside. The fact that over a quarter million people still committed to competing from a financial standpoint is no small feat. 
Year Total % Change
2021 263,529 10.21%
2020 239,106 -33.02%
2019 357,000 -14.18%
2018 416,000 9.47%
2017 380,000 17.17%
2016 324,307 18.68%
2015 273,257 30.15%
2014 209,948 49.96%
2013 140,000 100.00%
2012 70,000 169.23%
2011 26,000 NA

Another factor in the boost is likely the recommitment to media that the CrossFit Games team has made in the past month. The return of highly produced Open announcements, studio coverage, and more is a visual commitment to the sport and community through storytelling. 

The community is still not out of the woods from the pandemic, and there are plenty more hurdles to jump globally in the future, but a return to growth in the Open is an important first step.

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