Should Competitors Pay Less…or MORE?

Winning the Games doesn’t help your business.
What, then, is the benefit of having Games athletes under your roof?
I’ve been around Games and Regional-level athletes often. In my former role as Media Director for several different Regionals, I’ve been lucky enough to meet many of the CrossFit-famous. Most are nice; some went out of their way to greet fans even while preparing for an event. Many understand that their “fame” is specific only to our niche.
The best athletes can provide inspiration and leadership in the gym. Of course. The best athletes participate with other members, and give them a sense of “Look what she can do! Maybe I can do more.” The best athletes lift the ceiling for everyone else. But let’s be clear about what top CrossFit competitors DON’T do:

  • They don’t pull in new members
  • They don’t always make the best coaches
  • They don’t make your gym “famous”
  • They don’t increase your bottom line–unless, of course, they’re paying more for training than anyone else. I’ll get to that in a moment.

In a very few cases, hosting a Games or Regional-level competitor can even be a detriment. If the athlete is following outside programming (which is understandable), then they’re not interacting with your clients much anyway. And if they’re doing “their own thing”, they’re a distraction to everyone else. In a few extreme examples, the “big dog effect” can separate the pack, causing cliques and making a mess of your policies, space and equipment.
I wish I didn’t hear this often, but I do:

She comes in and stays most of the day. She stays in the corner and doesn’t really talk to anyone else. She’s doing other programming. She usually leaves a mess. She’s not really part of our community. She only talks to certain people. And now those people just follow what she’s doing! And she doesn’t even wear our gym’s t-shirt at competitions!

I love the sport of CrossFit. Every year, we prove to the world that elite levels of fitness are possible by generalists. But the ability to deadlift 600, run a sub-5:30 mile and link 50 pull-ups requires different training than most of our clients. That means a different plan; more time; and more coaching.
Luckily, that’s what you sell!
In any service industry, a general-level service carries a standardized price. Usually, a premium service is available for those who want more. In this case, competitors require a LOT more attention than the average client. Here’s how you can provide them with the options they need to meet their goals:

  • Competitors’ Classes
  • Individualized Programming
  • Open Gym time (as an add-on)
  • Nutrition for Competition service
  • Personal training for specific skills
  • Outside experts brought in to do seminars
  • Renting outside venues

Of course, each of these will require a LOT more time from the coach, and time should be charged accordingly.
This model is well established in most amateur sports, where “rep” or “traveling teams” are common. Rep teams travel to compete at a higher level. They try to put athletes in a more visible venue for sponsors. They spend more time on training and gear.
And they cost a LOT more. Team fees for 8-year-olds in hockey are around $400 for non-rep players, and $5000 for rep players. Parents understand this is part of the process, and expect to pay far more. The model holds true for baseball, soccer, football and virtually every other amateur sport with a division of talent.
Having a high-level CrossFit competitor in your gym can be great. In the best cases, they’re friendly and inspirational for the others. But they don’t attract new clients, and most of your SEED clients are probably indifferent to their presence. The value of having them there should translate into a specialized service with an increased price. If not, what objectively-measurable value do they bring?


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.