We’ve gotten this question a lot over the last couple of years with increasing frequency. A gym owner that follows fitness methodology that does similar workouts to CrossFit Affiliates gyms might wonder… should they pay to become a licensed CrossFit Affiliate gym?
IN THE VIDEO ABOVE, HERE IS WHAT I COVER:
1. What does being a CrossFit Affiliate Gym really mean?
The CrossFit Affiliate licensing agreement is a limited-use trademark to use the word CrossFit in your branding and marketing efforts for your gym. It is not a franchisee license. While there are other perks and benefits provided by CFHQ, there are no other terms in writing for any other specific performance by CFHQ other than allowing you the right to use CrossFit in your branding. It is not a business in itself, but with the license, you can brand your business with the CrossFit name and call yourself a CrossFit gym.
2. Can I use CrossFit in my branding if I am not Affiliated?
In short, no. That is the primary value provided by paying the royalty for use of their trademarked branding. You should not call yourself a CrossFit gym if you are not a licensed, active affiliate.
3. What are the benefits of being a CrossFit Affiliate?
CrossFit does offer numerous fringe benefits of being an affiliate outside of its primary value driver of being allowed to use CrossFit in your branding. This includes regional CrossFit Affiliate meetings with your local representative, every region has one, and bybeing active you are invited to participate in those meetings. You also get access to the Affiliate Lounge at the CrossFit Games.
4. What do I get if I become a CrossFit Affiliate?
As far as material items outside of the exclusive right to use CrossFit in your branding, nothing as far as we know. This is not a franchise, therefore, no equipment or materials are provided outside of maybe some educational materials that come with the welcome pack when you join. Annually, no additional hard items are provided nor promised.
5. What is in the agreement?
The licensing agreement has some terms it requires the holder to maintain which includes but are not limited to maintaining a CrossFit Level 1 trainer certificate, liability insurance, an annual fee, as well as some backlinks that must be placed on your website but you cannot reuse or repurpose any of the content from their main site. You can see the full requirements here.
The CrossFit website states that affiliation allows you to legally use the CrossFit trademark, and offer CrossFit training at one physical location. Your gym can easily participate in CrossFit events such as the Open. The marketing assistance is limited to placing your gym on the Affiliate Finder Map and Affiliate List. As an affiliate owner, you also get priority access to CrossFit Games tickets, entry into the affiliate owner lounge at the Games, and prioritized support from our Legal Team. This is where the “what you get” section of the agreement ends.
6. What does it cost?
$3,000 USD annually for new affiliates as of this article’s published date.
7. How does being an Affiliate improve your marketing?
Directly, only by having your gym published on the CrossFit Affiliate Map on the CrossFit.com website.
Indirectly, it helps mostly through exclusive use of the CrossFit name in your branding showing up in local search results. Since non-affiliates cannot use the name, they will not benefit and those that are licensed will be able to benefit from the search traffic this generates. Which is notable some markets.
8. What kind of protection do I get as a CrossFit Affiliate?
CrossFit is known to fiercely protect their trademark so if you are a licensed holder in your market they will work hard to prevent others from using the trademark who are not. Otherwise, no other types of protection are included.
9. Is it worth it?
This is completely opinion, but from a completely objective business-related perspective… yes, simply because the threshold to profitability on the $3,000 annually is so low considering the opportunity to use CrossFit in your branding and gain ranking in the search engines to compete for traffic locally for search terms like “CrossFit”, “CrossFit gym”, and “CrossFit gym near me” has a huge upside. However, those results will be strictly based on how well your marketing is done, even from an organic angle. Having a website that is optimized for the search engines around those search terms combined with good lead generation is really the best way to ensure that upside is obtained.
In the land of brand royalty deals and trademark licensing, just $3,000 a year is actually a ridiculously low price for the limited rights to use a well known global brand. Anything else that comes with it should be considered a bonus. Building a good, reputable brand is hard work and expensive, licensing that out to others for use in their businesses at that rate is really fair considering the risk of damage to brand each new affiliate presents if they don’t uphold the standard the community has unified behind.
10. Is it profitable to be a CrossFit Affiliate?
Yes, absolutely, but this is largely based on your own ability to put together a good business under the marketing, sales, operation, fulfillment, and finance pillars every business needs. CrossFit Affiliation is not a “business in a box” and while they provide some solid limited self-help resources, business guidance is not the promise nor has it ever been. For just $3,000 per year, I wouldn’t expect or demand more than that.
At Big Little Gyms we work with over 400 gyms (as of this writing) and rapidly growing. I have owned 2 CrossFit Affiliates and over the years sharing my wins has brought me a following, more than half of the gyms we work with are CF affiliates. We’ve watched many of our gyms, with the right tools, systems, and a little guidance reach $40k, $50k, and even $100k months and build really solid communities that employ great teams of coaches.
My gyms both grew to beyond 200 members and for many years was able to make a 6-figure annual income as a gym owner that carried the CrossFit Affiliation. I will say that, while also adding the disclaimer that while we know a lot of successful gym owners, there is a much higher percentage of gym that do not turn a profit. This has nothing to do with CrossFit Affiliation and everything to do building a good business, which most coaches who enter the world of gym ownership fall victim to with a “build it and they will come” mindset.
This is why Big Little Gyms exist, to build businesses on a rock-solid foundation of systems that help gym owners predictably and reliably grow.
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BLG is a program for gym owners who want excellence in business that shows you how to scale your business to 7-figures+ using proven methods and hyper-systemization.
To learn more about Big Little Gyms you can visit our website to learn more and schedule an appointment with us. To Your Success! Will Hurst & the team at Big Little Gyms
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CrossFit, CrossFit Games, and Sport of Fitness are trademarks of CrossFit, LLC in the U.S. and/or other countries. Big Little Gyms is not CrossFit Affiliated, nor is it attempting to represent as one. This is simply a video educating on the benefits of becoming a CrossFit Affiliate.