Greg Glassman announced yet another shift in the CrossFit Games world when he spoke with Julie Foucher, four-time Games competitor, on her podcast last week. Glassman told Foucher that the Games will not have a title sponsor when the contract with Reebok is up.
Reebok has been the main sponsor of the Games since 2011, when they signed a contract ensuring their involvement for a 10-year period, ending in the 2020 season. If you’ve followed the Games over the last several years, this has been made clear, with athletes only wearing apparel representative of their main sponsor.
The loss of Reebok at the Games probably doesn’t come as too much of a shock after a marketing and licensing dispute took place between the two organizations in 2018. CrossFit argued that Reebok had failed to adequately pay royalties over the course of 3-years, thus resulting in a settlement in which Reebok paid CrossFit an undisclosed sum to make up for it. Despite this, I think it’s safe to assume that the relationship between the two is still a bit shaky.
With Reebok’s contract being up in 2020, Glassman firmly stated, “there’s not gonna be another shoe company that sits in that position again. We’re done with exclusive contracts. I like where we’re going.” Glassman further stated that for the next two or three years, he’s putting a “moratorium on title sponsorship, the highest level.”
We’re still unsure what all this means for the CrossFit Games after 2020. Will the ever-growing prize purse be reduced to reflect the scaled back sponsor money? Will the CrossFit Games take an even more drastic change than they have this past year, in both size and format?
Glassman’s persistent pursuit of globalization at the Games and a heavy focus on affiliates, has made it clear that sponsorship will look very different as the sport progresses. Though it is still unclear who will sponsor the event, we can expect to see more variety in terms of apparel on athletes at the Games as time goes on.