In an April letter to the CrossFit community, Games GM Justin Bergh opened up about a potential move away from the StubHub center in Carson, California, maybe as early as next season (2017). The CrossFit Games have been held at the StubHub Center — formerly the Home Depot Center — every summer since 2010. Before that, the Games took place on the famed — and notoriously dusty — ranch in Aromas, California.
And while the StubHub center at first seemed oversized for the startup fitness competition, in recent years, the event’s size has begun to catch up to the venue. The tennis stadium seemed mostly empty during event finals in 2010, 2011, and even 2012 and 13, but last year’s stadium was packed to the gills during key moments. The vendor village — where fans can interact with their favorite brands, preview upcoming merchandise, meet favorite athletes, and get sh!tfaced on non-Paleo adult beverages — is also limited in growth by StubHub’s available areas, though perhaps less so than the event venues themselves.
While Bergh’s announcement is welcomed by fans who think crowding is an issue — which is debatable — a venue change could signal something altogether more important: Moving the CrossFit Games away from Southern California for the first time.
SoCal in July is hot, muggy, bright, busy, hot, and muggy (in that order — remember Murph?). Since its inception in 2007, the Games have also been a decidedly West Coast affair. Exploring outside the region could open up opportunities for better venues, less punishing heat, varying outdoor challenges, and — most importantly — greater accessibility for a still-growing fanbase.
Assuming they keep the event on U.S. soil (it’d be extraordinarily difficult not to), we can narrow down some potential new spots based on logistics.
Heading further north along the West Coast could alleviate some heat concerns, though it doesn’t do much to make travel more accessible for fans from the East Coast or Europe.
Going with an East Coast venue seems very unlikely for the Games, as it just flips the travel distance issue onto the West Coast fans whose attendance has largely fueled the event’s growth. Going with this logic would eliminate South Florida from the mix.
A more logical move would be inward to a more central city within the continental U.S. — and one with an international airport hub, key for international athletes and spectators alike. In that case, cities like Dallas and Denver seem like leading options.
Heading inward from the coasts could also cut down on travel time and effort for the tons (and tons, and tons) of equipment Ohio-based Rogue custom manufactures for the Games. Depending on how big of a concern that turns out to be, it wouldn’t be completely shocking to see the event move to Columbus.
Of course, they could keep the whole thing near Los Angeles and just move it to a different space. But until further notice from HQ, we won’t be buying our 2017 plane tickets just yet.
Where do you think they should hold the 2017 CrossFit Games? Why? And what aren’t we taking into consideration? Let us know in the comments below.
Featured image by Anthony Topper.