CrossFit Games

Open Registration Continues to Climb, Needs Final Push To Surpass 2021

February 24, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Justin LoFranco
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As the collective CrossFit world braced themselves for the live 22.1 Open announcement Wednesday, total registration had eclipsed the 200,000 mark. By the time the dust had settled on the announcement, the number had grown to over 219,500, marking a 38,000 plus improvement in 24 hours. 

While still a far cry from the stated registration goals of Eric Roza when he took over the company, the timing of the benchmark gives hope 2022 can at least surpass the final numbers from a year ago.

Remind me: During one of his initial townhall meetings back in 2020, Roza wasn’t shy about putting a lofty goal out into the universe in hopes of reinstilling momentum in the sport.

  • “On the participatory side, the CrossFit Open is already the biggest sporting event in the world. We’ve already hit that. With everyone’s help here, we’re going to get that to half a million in 2021, and then a million in a few years. So if we’re the most participatory sport in the world and we keep pushing that forward, and we can get to a billion viewers around the world because we’re leaning in more and more, that starts to get pretty exciting.”

In 2021 registration closed at 263,529, reversing a two-year participation skid by beating 2020 thanks to a late surge in the final week. That change of direction marked the eighth time in Open history that registration improved from the year prior, which presents us two ways to look at these numbers:

Year Total % Change
2023 323,014 9.94%
2022 293,805 11.49%
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

Glass half empty: A significant surge is still needed with four days remaining to not only match 2021, but pass it in a manner that showcases meaningful growth. To match the 10% growth of last season, the final number would need to settle around 290,000.

  • Such a number would still place the sport in between the years of 2015 and 2016, and for many the thought of sliding back six or seven years at this point still presents a troublesome status.

Glass half full: The recent numbers should continue to increase significantly on the heels of the announcement of a 22.1 workout that is approachable to the masses and provided a good show between the announcement’s featured athletes.

  • 300,000 total registrants is not out of the question and a more than 20% increase from the time the new regime took over is significant considering the obstacles presented by the pandemic globally, and the recent changes in leadership.
  • The 2015 and 2016 seasons were also robust, well formed competition years, funded in large part by Open registration numbers similar to today. With added support via event partners and new sponsors in the current system, any positive growth trend is a good sign.

Technically Open registration will remain open throughout the next three weeks, but for primary statistical purposes the registration window will effectively close at the 22.1 submission deadline at 5pm Monday PT.

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