CrossFit Games

Are CrossFit’s Semifinals Payouts Trending in the Right Direction?

April 6, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Athlete's Eye Photography
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In case you missed it, the CrossFit Games recently updated the 2022 Competition Rulebook to include the payout schedule for Semifinals. The list can be found in rule 4.14.

One big thing: The payouts remain exactly the same as the 2021 season. And for that matter, the same as 2018 Regionals (for individuals). 

The details: Depending on the continent, semifinal competitions will pay out the top three or five finishers on both the individual and team sides.

  • In North American and European events:
    • Individuals: First place – $5000, second place – $4000, third place – $3000, fourth place – $2000 and fifth place – $1000.
    • Teams: First place – $5000, second place – $4000, third place – $3000, fourth place – $2000 and fifth place – $1000.
  • In Oceania, Asia, South America, and Africa events:
    • Individuals: First place – $5000, second place – $4000, third place – $3000.
    • Teams: First place – $5000, second place – $4000, third place – $3000.
  • All cash prizes are paid in US dollars.

Remind me: The Semifinals payout announcement last season sparked a discussion about the professionalization of the sport.

  • The total Semifinals prize purse is $414,000 across 10 semifinals, broken down to $45,000 allotted to each North American and European event, and $36,000 to each event in Asia, Africa, South America and Oceania.  
  • During the final Sanctionals season (disrupted by COVID), Rogue, the Dubai CrossFit Championship and Loud & Live events, put up $2,178,860 across seven events.

When asked about the prize payouts for Semifinals in 2021, CrossFit Director of Communications, Andrew Weistein responded with the following:

  • “Despite half of this year’s Semifinals (2021) being forced to run virtually, this year’s Semifinals purse will be equal to the former Regionals purse, and we hope to increase it significantly in future, as our sport returns to normalcy and growth.”
  • “As the sport of CrossFit succeeds, it will support a robust and sustainable ecosystem that funds the livelihood of more full-time athletes through official season events, partner events, and licensed events worldwide.”

A hard reality: At the end of the day, the Semifinals payouts are barely enough to cover the cost of hotels, travel, and other expenses athletes incur competing at these events, much less give them a payout sustainable enough to allow them to earn a living from this sport.

  • By the time an individual athlete will compete in a Semifinal event, they will have paid CrossFit at least $320 in registration fees alone (according to 2021 Semifinal registration fees).
  • By the time a team will compete in a Semifinal event, they will have already paid at least $620 to CrossFit in registration fees alone (according to 2021 Semifinal registration fees).
  • In fact, in North America and Europe, the fifth place qualifying teams will have spent 62% of their prize money on registration fees to CrossFit, giving their team a final payout of $95 per person ($76 per person if you include the coach).

The bottom line: While something is always better than nothing, these numbers are not trending in a positive direction at the moment. Elite CrossFit athletes, as well as the sport itself would benefit from a more lucrative prize structure.  

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