The Reebok CrossFit Games were held last weekend before a full crowd at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., proving how far the sport of CrossFit has come since it was invented 14 years ago. The CrossFit Games started in 2007 with 70 competitors and $500 in prize money. Since then, the Games have exploded. This year, the purse was $1.75 million with thousands traveling to Los Angeles to experience the event.
Reebok is the main sponsor of the CrossFit Games, having agreed to a 10-year deal in 2011. That same year, ESPN became broadcast rightsholder for the event, broadening the audience. Just a few weeks ago, ESPN and CrossFit extended the contract, keeping ESPN’s exclusive rights to televise the CrossFit Games, with an extensive schedule on ESPN3. With partnerships like these, CrossFit should continue to grow and gain fans from around the world.
Reebok’s partnership with CrossFit has been tremendously beneficial for the apparel brand. The biggest benefit, according to Chris Froio, vice president of fitness & training at Reebok, has been redefining Reebok as a fitness brand. “Four years ago, we decided to go back to Reebok’s roots – fitness – and identify or create on our own a fitness regimen that was engaging and social.
“Along the way, Reebok was building products that work for CrossFit, and we were able to advertise those to gain additional exposure. In addition, one of the biggest payoffs on making it sustainable for us was more the grassroots side such as being at major events, talking to athletes to make the best product, going to affiliates and sponsoring and supporting their events, working with CrossFit on expanding the Games to other countries and increasing exposure.”
Both brands continue to grow the partnership together. Reebok just signed three-time CrossFit Games men’s winner Rich Froning to a lucrative, long-term endorsement deal, which sources say is on par with the top athletes in the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL. The deal also makes Froning a Reebok athlete for life. CrossFit, meanwhile, has turned into an international phenomenon with 10,000 affiliates around the world.