On March 1, 2021, CrossFit HQ announced NOBULL — the popular footwear and apparel company founded in 2015 — as the title sponsor for the 2021 CrossFit Games. The deal will extend for at least three years, according to the announcement on CrossFit’s website. Prior to NOBULL, Reebok has been the Games’ title sponsor for a decade.
“NOBULL is the premier shoe and apparel brand to emerge from the CrossFit ecosystem, which has inspired thousands of entrepreneurial ventures around the world,” CrossFit CEO Eric Roza said in the press release. “My friends Marcus [Wilson] and Michael [Schaeffer] started NOBULL based on their passion for CrossFit and with the goal of creating shoes and apparel for the most demanding workouts. Put simply, CrossFit runs deep in NOBULL’s blood and culture.”
You can read also read the CrossFit statement, which Roza posted on Twitter:
— Eric Roza (@RozaEric) March 1, 2021
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A highlight of the deal is that NOBULL has agreed to fund the highest prize purse in Games History, though the exact amount was not disclosed.
In 2020, then-title sponsor Reebok had over $1.3 million in prize money for the top-five men and women, including the standard award plus event bonuses for the top three men and women in each event. First-place in an event got an additional $3,000, second got $2,000, and first got $1,000. As for the standard prize money, the first place man and woman earned $300,000, second place got $115,000, third got $75,000, fourth earned $50,000, and fifth place raked in $35,000. With their event dominance, Toomey-Orr and Fraser received an additional $42,000 and $48,000, respectively.
“NOBULL was born in the CrossFit community. Since the beginning, this community has opened its doors to us, inspired us, and believed in us,” NOBULL said in its own statement. “We’ve experienced the highs and lows together, and we approach this next chapter with incredible energy and excitement. There will be no shortcuts, no gimmicks, and no excuses. The methodology works. The community is real. The athletes are world-class. The best is yet to come, and we cannot wait to welcome you to the NOBULL CrossFit Games.”
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Also included in the announcement were reactions from top athletes (who are under contract with NOBULL). Here is what they had to say:
- Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr, four-time Fittest Woman on Earth®: “I am so excited that NOBULL is the title sponsor of the CrossFit Games. Not only does it give me confidence that this is the beginning of something GREAT, but it also gives me reassurance that the sport I dedicated so much of my life to is going to provide more opportunities to the younger generation.”
- Brooke Wells, six-time Games athlete: “I couldn’t be more excited about the NOBULL CrossFit Games! This partnership brings together two of the biggest influences in my career over the last six years. The NOBULL culture is part of who I am, and I can’t wait to see this partnership come to life.”
- Katrin Davíðsdóttir, two-time CrossFit Games winner: “The future is bright with the partnership of these two organizations. I am so excited to see what is truly possible!”
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2021 CrossFit Games Season
The 2021 CrossFit season kicks off with the Open on March 11, 2021. There have been numerous changes made to the Open this year — including a new Adaptive division, an equipment-free Open option, and a new three-step qualification process (which includes a Last-Chance Qualifier.) In total, only 40 men and 40 women will make it to this year’s Games, held live in Madison, WI, from July 27 through August 1.
Another major change is the qualifying stages leading up to the Games are continent-based. When registering for the Open, athletes will establish their continent. This will be the continent assigned to that athlete throughout the Games. An athlete does not need to live in the country on the continent they want to represent, but they must be a citizen of that country to represent the continent.
[Related: 7 Adaptive Athletes to Watch in the 2021 CrossFit Open]
There have also been many more exciting changes since CrossFit’s season overhaul. For one, Mat Fraser announced his retirement, so there’s an empty spot at the top of the men’s podium waiting to be filled. More recently, famed Russian weightlifter Dmitry Klokov signed up for the open. Now, a new title sponsor? This surely is shaping up to be a one-of-a-kind season.
Featured image: @katrintanja/photo by Luiz Livramento