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CrossFit Affiliates Increase By Nearly 1,400 in 2021, Home Office Plans to See Upward Curve Continue in 2022

January 9, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Courtesy of CrossFit Hype
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As CrossFit gyms around the globe ring in the New Year with hopes to make 2022 a success, CrossFit Home Office already has plans to ensure another year of affiliate growth. While the fitness industry saw a major hit due to the pandemic, there has actually been an uptick in CrossFit affiliates.

Why it matters: Contrary to what’s been happening to big box gyms and other “boutique” style fitness centers this past year, CrossFit as a company seems to be headed in the right direction. Although places like Ontario, Canada are still facing shutdowns and mandates inside their gyms, affiliate growth nationwide has been a success.

  • “We’ve grown about 1,400 affiliates since last year. That growth has been led outside of the U.S. which is even crazier based on what’s gone on with COVID and the restrictions, local municipalities not supporting financially small businesses, and that’s just been relentless support that our country managers have provided, said Gary Gaines, the general manager of global affiliates and international with CrossFit.

By the numbers:

  • At the start of 2021, there were 9,400 CrossFit affiliates worldwide.
  • By the end of the year, paying affiliates increased by 1,400 rounding out to 10,800 leading into the New Year.
  • In total, however, affiliations are closer to 12,500 which includes non-paying gyms such as affiliates in prisons and schools.

Home Office is staying tight-lipped about what their 2022 goal for affiliations is, but Gaines says they’re looking to exceed where CrossFit has ever been with no end to their growth in sight.

  • “The largest this company has been in that paid cohort is right around 11,715 and we plan on beating that…” said Gaines.
  • “We have a North Star metric of impacting 100-million lives through CrossFit. It’s going to come through a number of different channels but that is our target condition and that’s what we get up every single day to try and achieve and inch closer to that milestone,” Gaines continued.

With affiliate growth at the forefront for HQ, they have a team that’s been strategizing to target specific markets where they see potential growth.

  • “For the very first time, there was a Level 1 staffed in Nairobi and it was packed. We had 22 spots and it sold out 22 spots in Nairobi,” Daniel Chaffey, the director of operations at GYM international with CrossFit said.
  • “There are only two gyms in all of Kenya that came around because we had boots on the ground in Africa that said there may be an opportunity here, then we talked to education to see if we could staff it, and so we’re doing that and every single month there’s a new location whether it’s in the U.S. or outside the U.S., there are new locations where we’re staffing level 1 seminars in order to develop CrossFit,” he continued.

Outside of Africa, CrossFit is targetting four markets where they haven’t seen organic growth and development as they’ve seen in other parts of the world – but have enormous population and potential to see expansion for CrossFit affiliates. Those markets include China, Russia, India and Japan.

  • “We have another strategy outside of our core strategy on trying to crack those markets. China is an incredibly large country with a lot of people and when they are adamant and focused on something, it takes off, and we want to take advantage of that,” Chaffey said.
  • CrossFit also recently hired a new chief marketing officer that is working on strategies to reach individuals who may not yet know what CrossFit is.
  • And as we can all agree – once someone drinks the CrossFit Koolaid – most never stop.
  • “This community is stronger than it’s ever been, last year proved that…we’re as committed as we’ve ever been to giving them the resources and helping them open their doors and we feel very confident about next year,” concluded Gaines.

The big picture: With the numbers showing the past 12 months as a successful year for affiliate growth, there’s still great uncertainty with what could happen given the ongoing pandemic. The good news? We should be out of the woods with the worst of it and this new leadership team at HQ has proven so far that they are more than capable of steering this ship in the right direction.

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