Legends Championship Organizers Explain Payout Confusion

January 2, 2024 by
Photo Credit: Legends Championship/Jeffrey W Jones (Instagram handle @jeffreywjonesphotos)
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The podium athletes from the Legends Championship 2023 were told they likely wouldn’t be receiving any prize money this time around, an expense that typically comes from the pocket of the event organizers, Joe Linton and Bob Jennings. 

The competition was held last month in Tempe, AZ, and brought together athletes in 30 divisions, including individual, scaled, and teams ranging in age from 35 through 65 and above.

Following the conclusion of the competition, top finishers from the masters-only competition received an email from Linton stating that, unlike years past, they wouldn’t be paying out any prize money due to limited funds. 

“While we would love to pay out significant prize money every year, unfortunately, we will not be able to provide any for 2023,” the email from Linton to the podium athletes stated. 

A prize purse was never promised for 2023 or in years past. 

  • Linton and Jennings say there is a lot that goes into putting on a competition of that magnitude, adding that the estimated minimum cost for putting on an event like Legends starts at $300,000. 
  • The costs begin to add up and “we end up funding the event out of our own personal funds and in years we did live streams that check was not a small amount,” Jennings said. 
  • “We don’t take a salary, we don’t get paid. We get nothing from this. We put this on for the benefit of the community that wants to compete. It’s not some financial windfall for us.” 
  • “Based on where sponsorship came in this year and where our bills are this year we felt it was important to let the podium people know that they’re probably not going to get a payout this year, and if they do, it probably is going to be on the lighter side.” 

The title sponsor for the event was supplement and nutrition company 1st Phorm, which supplied athlete attire for free and free supplement samples for the entire event. Any assumption that the company did not fulfill its obligations monetarily is false, Linton and Jennings said. 

Remind me: Morning Chalk Up readers will know Linton and Jennings are taking over the masters athletes’ end-of-season event on behalf of CrossFit HQ in the 2024 season and beyond. This was among the biggest changes to the CrossFit Games announced by CrossFit HQ last year. 

Masters athletes will no longer attend the Games and will instead participate in their own event hosted by the Legends Championship. The date and location is still TBD. 

Jason Grubb, a four-times CrossFit Games Masters champion, competed at the latest Legends Championship and won his 45-49 age division. He’s also competed at the Legends competition several years in a row and has stood atop the podium. 

  • When asked about the Legends not offering a prize purse, Grubb said he had “mixed feelings.” 
  • “While it’s a little disappointing, it’s not the heart and soul of why we compete. We’re driven by our passion for the sport, the challenge it presents, and the amazing community it builds,” Grubb said. 
  • “The Legends Championship has consistently provided an unparalleled experience since its inception, making it a premier competition for masters athletes. Its partnership with CrossFit for the 2024 Masters CrossFit Games is a testament to the quality and dedication behind this event.”

One last thing: It’s important to note that the Legends Championship and the Masters CrossFit Games are two separate events. Linton and Jennings will take over the Masters CrossFit Games event and continue to put on the Legends Championship in the winter. 

“They’re two totally separate revenue and expense models,” said Jennings. 

In regards to the Legends Championship for 2024, “we’re going to throw an event that is going to be an awesome thing to attend in person. You’re going to come and have a great time and that’s our most important thing to pull off,” said Linton. 

“We’re going to do what we can to get a prize purse for next year and also move forward on everything else that we want to improve.” 

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