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CrossFit Reduces Affiliate Fees in Brazil, Mexico and Thailand

September 15, 2021 by
Photo Credit: CrossFit Resende (instagram.com/crossfitresende)
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Editor’s note: If your affiliate has also received a reduction in annual fees and you are located in a different country than listed, please send the editors a note

A little over a year ago during CrossFit’s first Town Hall in August 2020, Thalita Santos, the owner of CrossFit Resende in Brazil asked CrossFit CEO Eric Roza whether they would consider adjusting affiliation fees based on a country’s economy. Without hesitation, Roza replied, “Yes.”

  • “Not only are we considering it, we are going to adjust affiliate fees based on the country’s economy,” he said, and then committed to reveal more details about exactly how this will be rolled out by the second Town Hall.

One year later: While CrossFit LLC declined to provide exact details about the changes that have been made so far, a CrossFit spokesperson told the Morning Chalk Up that, “Not only are those plans in motion, they are already implemented in a few markets.”

  • “We have adjusted the annual affiliation fees in a small number of countries that are facing significant currency exchange inequities or economic challenges. This is an ongoing process, which we will continue to iterate as we evaluate changing conditions and average membership rates in different countries, so we can ensure that affiliates worldwide can run successful businesses while offering market-competitive rates to members,” offered Gary Gaines, CrossFit’s GM of International and Affiliates.

What we know so far: We quickly found affiliates in Mexico, Brazil and Thailand who said CrossFit reduced their annual affiliate fee from USD$3,000 to $2,250 in the last year (if you pay for the year up front).

  • Santos is one of these owners and said the decrease “helped a lot…My affiliate is located in a small city, like an inner town. So I need more clients to pay (the fee) than the big cities…Last year I was thinking (of) leav(ing) CrossFit affiliation and now I don’t even think about it.”
  • Murray Sogen, the owner of CrossFit Pattaya in Thailand, a country where he said the average citizen earns around USD$400 a month, is another. Sogen welcomed the affiliate fee reduction and said that without the decrease, as well as the monthly payment structure CrossFit implemented before Roza, he likely wouldn’t have survived as an affiliate. “I’m very grateful they’ve been so flexible. If they hadn’t been, we would have had to end our affiliation due to cost concerns,” Sogen said. 
  • Gustavo Thomaz is a third who has benefited from the affiliate fee decrease. He manages two gyms in Brazil—CrossFit Barigui I and CrossFit Baragui II, and said the change has been “great help.” Further, when his gyms closed their doors due to the pandemic, they were not required to pay their monthly fee, which was also a big help, he added.
  • That being said, in the last two years, the Brazilian dollar has plummeted compared to the US dollar, so the real money saved has been minimal, Thomaz explained. Today, USD$2,250  is approximately $11,700 BRL, whereas in 2019, USD$3,000 was around $12,000 BRL. Considering the low Brazilian dollar, if his two gyms had to pay USD$3,000 today, “it would be very hard to pay 

the fees,” Thomaz said. 

One big thing: When we consider the number of clients it takes to cover the affiliation fee, countries like Brazil are still paying more than North American affiliates. 

  • In North America, if you’re charging $150 a month per client, for example, then less than two clients effectively cover the $3,000 a year. For Santos, on the other hand, even with the recent decrease, three to five clients’ monthly fees are needed to cover the cost of affiliation. 

It’s worth noting: Thomaz also pointed out that now that his two gyms pay their affiliation fee as monthly payments as opposed to one lump sum once a year, they are required to pay 10 percent more to CrossFit. In the past, it cost them only five percent more to pay month-to-month.

  • This is also the case for Edgar Ramos, the owner of CrossFit Condesa in Mexico. “For us we choose to pay in 12 months of USD$225…so if you (do) the math we are paying USD$2,700 a year,” he said. 
  • Still, Thomaz and Ramos said they’re happy there was a decrease at all. “Of course this is better and of course this is help…we appreciate that,” Ramos said. 
  • “I feel that Eric Roza represents CrossFit much better than what we had before. (It) gives me more confidence for whatever comes in the future of CrossFit,” added Thomaz.

The bottom line: One year ago, Roza said that CrossFit was committed to “meet(ing) people where they are culturally,” and that if they are successful in doing so, then in five to 10 years, “80 or 90 percent of CrossFit gyms are going to be outside the US.”

In light of this, reducing affiliate fees to make affiliation more financially viable in certain areas of the world has to be seen as a positive step in the direction of Roza’s hope to internationalize CrossFit.

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