CrossFit Games

CrossFit Affirms Relationship with NOBULL for the 2023 Season

May 23, 2023 by
Credit: Dave Risdon @crispydudes
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Anyone who made it to Orlando for the North America East Semifinal (and the stands were packed!), or who follow certain Instagram accounts noticed that NOBULL was surprisingly absent from Vendor Village, despite having a large piece of real estate reserved prior to the event.

Remind me: Three years ago CrossFit and NOBULL signed a partnership agreement.

  • On March 1, 2021, CrossFit announced a three-year deal with NOBULL, not only as the title sponsor of the CrossFit Games, but also the Official Footwear and Apparel Sponsor of CrossFit as well.
  • Throughout that time, the prize purse for Semifinals and the Games has increased each year. This year the purse at Semifinals is $431,000 and at the Games is $2.945 million.

Recently however, there have been some developments raising questions across the community.

  • On May 5, Todd Meleney, the CMO and one of the original employees at NOBULL, resigned his position.
  • He said, “While this news may be surprising to some, it didn’t happen overnight. I’m proud of how I got to this moment. I’m grateful for the opportunity I received back then. But I’m ready to focus my energy on all the amazing people and opportunities around me.”

Then, shortly before the first week of Semifinals, NOBULL laid off a significant number of employees.

  • According to some accounts, this included as much as half of their entire staff, or 75 people.

What they’re saying: “Regrettably, yesterday we announced that we are reducing our staff at NOBULL,” said Marcus Wilson and Michael Schaeffer, NOBULL Co-Founders. 

  • “We are a young company and have enjoyed extraordinary momentum since our launch in 2015, but the challenging economic climate has forced us to make the incredibly difficult decision to restructure to safeguard the brand for the future.” 
  • “As a founder-led business, our employees are our family. This was an incredibly hard decision for us to make. Those impacted were dedicated to the NOBULL brand, and we are so grateful to them,” they concluded.

CrossFit’s General Manager of Sport, Justin Bergh brushed off concerns that NOBULL had no retail presence at the North America East Semifinal, saying, “NOBULL has been a super important part of this stage.” 

  • “This is a very expensive thing to do, they are a super important patron. They picked up title sponsorship for this stage, and we worked with them recently on the prize money. Doubling the prize money is a part of their patronage,” he continued.
  • “They provide a very generous kit for our volunteers and have staff here to care for us and the volunteers as well,” Bergh finished.

Worth noting: Bergh clarified that NOBULL would not have a retail presence at the North America West Semifinal either.

  • The NOBULL partnership agreement is set to end on December 31, 2023 and the Morning Chalk Up reached out to CrossFit for clarity on whether the contract would be extended:
  • “We’re always in active conversations with NOBULL about the future of our partnership and the outlook is positive” a statement from CrossFit read. 
  • “NOBULL has always prioritized CrossFit since their inception and was even founded as a CrossFit-first brand. We’re looking forward to celebrating the remainder of the CrossFit season, culminating with the NOBULL CrossFit Games in Madison later this summer.”

The bottom line: While CrossFit has doubled down on its support for its relationship with NOBULL, the events of the past few weeks raise questions about the future of the relationship and NOBULL’s role in the sport.

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