Over 160 Athletes Expressed Interest in Wearing Reeboks to Claim Bonus Prize Purse

July 21, 2021 by
Photo Credit: Athlete’s Eye Photography
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After news broke yesterday morning that Reebok was offering all divisions competing at the CrossFit Games additional prize money for each event they win while wearing a Reebok shoe, athletes and coaches expressed an overwhelmingly positive response to the news. In total, upwards of $1 million could be up for grabs across all divisions. 

How it’s playing: Already more than 160 athletes across all divisions have expressed interest after the announcement, according to Reebok. 

A key question to consider is to what degree this will draw the eye of athletes from competing brands.

  • Yesterday alone, multiple athletes with ties to competing brands have reached out to Reebok already, according to a source with inside knowledge, but there’s still a long way to go from reaching out to jumping ship. 

What they’re saying: We talked to nearly a dozen athletes across multiple divisions who all were positive about the new opportunities. 

  • Rich Froning: “I think it’s awesome, it shows their commitment to the sports, community, and athletes.”
  • Patrick Vellner: “I think it’s a fun extra incentive. I’m not a guy who wins a lot of events outright but I might have to go for it on a few this year! It’s great to see Reebok’s continued commitment to their athletes and sends a clear message that they’re still going to be mixing it up in the CrossFit space.”
  • Saxon Panchik: “To see Reebok come in and do something like that, it’s helping push CrossFit even more into a professional sport…now you go and win two, three, four events you know now you’re almost looking at a full-time salary. I think by them doing that it’s helping move (CrossFit) in the right direction. Now these other brands, I’ll be curious to see what they do to step up and whether they’re going to match that or who knows what happens.”
  • Jacqueline Dahlstrom, 2x Games athlete: “I think it is great to see Reebok adding value to this year’s CrossFit Games by increasing the incentive for athletes winning an event. There is no question if the bigger companies continue to drive money into the sport it will allow for further growth and bring more opportunities to everyone involved.”
  • Jon Singleton, head coach to Dahlstrom and Gabi Migala: “In general athletes have responded positively to the news, obviously winning an event at The Games is no easy feat and some athletes have pre existing contracts that will not allow them to wear Reebok shoes. However, most athletes I have spoken with since the announcement think it is a good incentive.”
  • Justin Cotler, head coach to Kari Pearce, Bethany Shadburne, and Danielle Brandon: “I love it. Anything that gives these athletes the opportunity to make more money. Hopefully some of the other big sponsors will step up and do the same.”
  • Jacob Heppner, 5x Games athlete and coach to teenage athlete Olivia Kerstetter: “Personally I think it’s a great move by Reebok, they are incentivizing athletes to wear their gear in a somewhat loophole fashion. Kudos to the employee who thought of it.”

Let’s not overlook age groups and adaptive athletes: Due to the $10,000 up for grabs per event win, the individual division has a lot to gain by winning just one event. But perhaps the most significant financial impact could be seen in the age group and adaptive divisions. 

  • Except for a few exceptions, age group and adaptive athletes don’t have apparel sponsors that support their competitive careers so the money can mean a lot. 
  • For teenage athletes, this is the first money making opportunity they’ve ever had for two reasons: 1). There’s no prize purse for winning a teenage division, 2). They could lose their college eligibility, but the NCAA has recently removed monetization restrictions opening this opportunity up. 
  • Olivia Sulek, 17: “I think that the announcement is super cool and is a great opportunity for teenage athletes. As more teenagers are treating CrossFit as a career and working just as hard as individuals, I think it is great that they are finally getting the chance of being rewarded monetarily.”
  • For masters athletes, there is no prize purse for winning an event and top of podium payouts range from $25,000 (35-39) to $5,000 (65+). Athletes in the older divisions stand to significantly increase their payout potential as there are typically nine to 11 events programmed. 
  • Ron Ortiz, Games legend (55-59): “We’ve always felt a little bit slighted by the fact there’s such a huge disparity in prize money for masters athletes. This gives us the possibility to make a little more cash and I love Reebok products tremendously, always have. I believe in what they’ve done for the sport is huge and look forward to representing them with foot where this year at the games!!”
  • For adaptive athletes, there is also no prize purse for winning an individual event and top of podium payouts cap at $5,000 per division. Depending on how many events are programmed, at $1,000 per event win there’s an opportunity to double your take home. 
  • Logan Aldridge, competing in the inaugural men’s upper extremity adaptive division who’s ineligible for the payout: “As a sponsored Nike Athlete I selfishly wish Nike would have had the vision to do something like that but my hat is off to Reebok. That’s a very smart way to support the athletes and divisions that deserve it and need it most.”

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