Wodapalooza Makes Splash With Format Change: “We did some soul searching”
The 2023 Wodapalooza Fitness Festival made a big announcement this week about a format change. Elite athletes will compete for two days, Thursday, January 12, and Friday, January 13, then Elite Teams will compete on Saturday, January 14, and Sunday, January 15.
The details: This is the first format change for WZA in several years (the last being a shift from teams of four back to teams of three).
- While the Elite divisions will be split into two-day competitions, all other divisions will still compete across the weekend, starting Friday and concluding on Sunday.
Why this matters: This new format will allow Elite individuals to compete in the individual division first and then in the Team division at the same event.
- On one hand, limiting the individual competition to two days can make competing at WZA more enticing for athletes who want the opportunity to test themselves against a stellar field and potentially earn prize money, without beating themselves into oblivion over the course of a four-day event.
- On the other hand, for athletes who want the opportunity to earn more money in the off-season, this format gives them a chance to double-dip and earn money as both an individual and a team athlete in the same week.
What they’re saying: Dylan Malitsky, the VP of Sports for Loud And Live said that “we did quite a bit of soul searching after WZA 2022, we listened to everyone’s feedback, not just to say we listened to actually make substantive changes as a means of improving the experience.”
- “This decision was based, in part, around listening to athletes say that they are not interested in doing four-day beatdowns,” Malitsky continued, “They just come off the CrossFit Games, and they have this really tough dilemma of, ‘Okay, which off season events do I compete in?”
- Malitsky noted that despite large increases in the prize purse over the past several years, the number of elite athletes attempting to qualify and/or compete has actually dropped, with many elites choosing instead to spectate and enjoy the atmosphere of the event.
- The reason for placing the team competition second after the individuals was that there was a belief that athletes wouldn’t want to compete individually after the teams due to “wear and tear.”
- “I’ll consider this a win if there are athletes that do individuals and team that are of a high caliber. I’ll also think it’s a win if we get more elite athletes who have never competed at WZA in the past, but has been there to do brand appearances and visit with friends, now chooses to do both in the same week.”
One last thing: Malitsky noted that this shift isn’t just for the elite athletes, but that there is a “huge trickle down effect” to the fans and spectators. This format change creates the opportunity for spectators to see more of the best athletes in the sport. Malitsky likened WZA to the NBA All-Star weekend, with lots of different events and fan engagement.