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Up for Bid: The CrossFit Games

9 May, 2021

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

What event offers high visibility with a minimum of venue investment, creates excellent community engagement with multiple ancillary activities – and in 2018, brought in 17,000 spectators per day and a total of $28.5 million in economic impact? The CrossFit Games, which has been enriching Madison, Wisconsin for years. And it’s evaluating its options when it comes to siting its events from 2023 on.

The CrossFit Games are currently held in Madison, Wisconsin, and they will be held there through 2022 at a minimum. CrossFit has noted that it intends to award a 3- to 5-year contract to the next host city, beginning as soon as 2023. 

So what’s in it for hosting cities? Quite a bit, actually. A2018 Ohio University noted that over the course of the six-day competition, the following numbers were recorded:

  • An average of 17,000 spectators per day
  • 89 percent traveled to attend the event
  • 27 percent traveled internationally to attend
  • Estimated economic impact was $28.5 million
  • 25,344 room nights were used

In addition, the event provides excellent visibility. Figures from 2020 indicate that games.crossfit.comgarnered 6,800,000 total page views, and that the e-mail open rate was 545,702. The RFP also contains information on social media reach, including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, as well as data on numbers for Facebook Watch and CBS viewership.

The RFP is available for download here.

If there are any questions, please address them to rfp@CrossFitgames.com

Venue Needs:

PRIMARY VENUE (A): Full-size soccer/football field and stadium with a minimum of 15,000 seats.

PRIMARY VENUE (B): Tennis stadium / basketball arena / hockey arena with a minimum of 15,000 seats. ANCILLARY NEEDS NEAR PRIMARY VENUES: - Spectator Areas: 375,000+ sq. ft. - Athlete Village: 75,000+ sq. ft. - Operations: 175,000+ sq. ft.

Additionally, the CrossFit Games have tremendous community buy-in. In Madison, Wisconsin, where the event has been successfully staged, for example, additional on-campus activations include (or have included):

  • CrossFit Games Opening Ceremonies
  • CrossFit Games Campground
  • CrossFit Games Madison Club (Hospitality)
  • Porsche autocross course and 911 pull for time
  • GoRuck Hero WOD at Partner Row
  • Trans-Inclusion Panel
  • One-Ton Challenge presented by Shrugged Collective in The FitAid Lounge
  • OUTWOD Workout on Partner Row
  • Ragnar Sunset Relay
  • WOD Wedding
  • Adaptive Athlete Competitions
  • Spikeball Tournament
  • Vendor Village Fittest Fan Competition
  • Various Concerts have been held throughout the years
  • Spectator Scavenger Hunt
  • Motorcycle Giveaway

The entire city of Madison changes its tune when it comes to the CrossFit Games. Lyft drivers, hotel

staff, and bartenders all get in the Games spirit as CrossFitters take over the town.

Activities include:

  • CrossFit Health Conference (held off site)
  • Madison Area Sports Commission Activation and Marketing

Several bars and restaurants that team up with CF Games brands:

  • Great Dane Pub and Rogue Partnership - drink specials, custom food menu, and merchandise
  • Whiskey Jacks Madtown and Bear Komplex - Happy hour specials, foam party, concerts, and games
  • Big Gay Happy Hour at Prism Dance Club presented by OUTWOD
  • CrossFit Games Afterparty at Liquid

The Madison Area Sports Commission is one of the best and knows how to activate. Here is a sampling of what they did:

  • Local restaurants offering CrossFit Games specific menus through a partnership with Destination Madison
  • Large format signage in and around Madison
  • Sidewalk chalk pieces by local artists on Capitol Square and the Alliant Energy Center
  • Photos
  • Reebok Fit Barge on Lake Monona with daily workouts and the Celebrate the Female Athlete Panel,
  • ...as well as additional activations

Activations at local CrossFit affiliates:

  • RPM rope demo at CrossFit Big Dane
  • FitAid and RPM special class with Logan Aldridge at Big Dane Collective
  • Team Misfit takeover at Foremost CrossFit
  • RP, Trifecta, and FitAid “Eat and Speak” dinner at CrossFit Recursive
  • Caffeine and Kilos weightlifting clinic at CrossFit Big Dane
  • Workout and meal from Marigold Kitchens at Big Dane Collective
  • CrossFit Recursive drop-in with OUTWOD

Timeline and Deadlines:

  • July 1: Letter of Intent to Bid due to CrossFit
  • July 26 - August 1: CrossFit Games Site Visits, Madison, WI (pending COVID)
  • September 1: Proposals due to CrossFit
  • Contract negotiations for host cities begin November 15
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