How expensive are the Crossfit Games?

crossfit games athlete cost

Making it to the CrossFit games is any competitive Crosfitter’s dream.

It requires dedication, hard work and discipline… but also LOTS of money, especially if you are an international athlete.

Additionally every year international athletes have to deal with so many obstacles just to get into the US of A.

In this article we will be breaking down just how much money a Games athlete has to fork up to make it into the sport’s most important arena.

We know that many athletes struggle to make the experience meet their budget so we also will be sharing our best tips to save you some $$$ on your trip.

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Games related expenses

Open: 20$
QuarterFinals: 70$
SemiFinals: 200$
Games: 250$

Competition entry: 640$ (exc. Tax)

Travel expenses

Depending on where you are traveling from and how much in advance you are purchasing your tickets the prices for flying to the US can fluctuate dramatically.

The dates of your trip are all up to how CFHQ chooses to plan out the season.

This means that unless you’re in that top 0.01% who knows they WILL be making it to the Games, booking your tickets long in advance is a hard gamble.

All you can truly do here is seek out all possible flying options and choose which is most convenient to you.

Overall you will be looking at an average price of 800$ (From Europe)

Flights: 800$

Living expenses 

Here’s the deal: can you fly in the United States the day before the event, compete and then fly out straight after the podium ceremony?

Of course.

Will your performance be optimal and experience as positive as possible?

Most definitely not.

Reality is most athletes have to travel to the US days, if not weeks, in advance if they want to make sure all the hard work they put in throughout the year doesn’t go lost on poor recovery due to jet lag and the stress of being in a totally foreign place.

Let’s not forget there’s usually a 6 to 7 hour difference between most European countries and Madison.

With this said it’s only fair to factor in a couple more expenses.

In order to give a rough calculation of what that translates into in numbers we will take a 1 week example:

Accommodation: 1000$
Food: 150$
Gym: 100$
Transportation: 500$

Total living expenses per week: 1750$

Games Weekend

Games weekend needs a mention of its own when it comes to the expenses.

Reality is Madison is not a big city and when hundreds of people start occupating the city prices WILL shoot up.

If you don’t book early on you will have to pay a pretty penny to get yourself a decent spot to stay for the duration of the competition.

If there is one thing that can be said it’s that you shouldn’t feel like it’s necessary to book yourself a room in the athlete hotel.

However, unless you will ensure you have access to a car (and a place to park it) you should check that your accommodation will be walking distance from the venue.

All in all Games week will get pricey between the cost for accomodation, food and possible extra expenses like physical therapy.

Making it to the US

We’ve talked a lot about the monetary cost of making it to the States but it’s important not to forget that getting into the country is already a feat in itself in normal conditions, let alone in the midst of a pandemic.

So what are you even supposed to do in the hypothetical scenario of qualifying for the Games?

The usual procedure involved getting a VISA. We won’t dive into what that entails in this article but there are plenty of great resources on the web just one Google search away.

For the 2021 CrossFit Games however the usual route was put on pause due to the travelling restrictions.

Athletes received an email from CFHQ close to 4 weeks out from the Games informing them that the company was able to successfully have their names added to the National Interest Exemption list.

Meaning they were granted access to the country by the National security bureau.

Together with their names they were allowed to have a “support person” be added to this list.

This last detail is crucial. Why?

Well because it’s an important reminder that an athlete never competes alone. 

There is a whole team of people who work hard to get him to where he’s at. 

And some of these people can make a world of difference if they can actually be present for the athlete on game day.

From coaches, to physical therapists and a family member or partner each athlete will need at least one person in their corner to take care of their needs and that means having to fork out more cash.

Of course in certain scenarios it can be a benefit to have someone to split expenses with but this is not always the case especially for couples, family members or work relationships where your “plus one” requires you to sponsor their trip with you.

Pro tips to save you money when planning

Reach out to other Games athletes

May they be friends, Instagram mutuals or other athletes from your country.

It's always worth it to reach out and ask if they have already planned their trip and if they’d be willing to consider setting up a group “trip”.

Being able to split expenses such as accommodation and car rental can mean saving hundreds of dollars.

Plus spending time with other competitors can both give you an extra edge as well as help take off some of the stress of being so close to game day.

“Rent” a place

This can be an obvious one but it’s quite an important one.

Being able to rent an apartment for a relatively short period of time means you will have much more freedom over other aspects of your stay such as cooking your own food (which also saves you money from eating out).

And of course staying in an Airbnb or similar type of accommodation can save you money compared to a hotel stay.

Contact local gyms

Usually CrossFit gyms are excited to have Games athletes come train at their facility and if you ask them nicely they may be able to help our with useful local info.

Always make sure you reach out in advance and be polite to give yourself the best chances of a positive answer.

Be smart with food shopping

Yes we know, Whole Foods is like an adult wonderland for international crossfitters.

However, it’s also so easy to spend way too much in the store.

Additionally finding healthy foods for an affordable price when eating out is a hard task to accomplish.

Simply put: food in the US can be quite expensive.

Our best recommendations are to limit the number of meals you eat out (you will probably want to do so regardless of cost given the priority should be on eating foods you’re accustomed to and that help you perform well) and to pay attention to where you shop.

Some of the cheaper stores that still hold all your essentials are Walmart, Aldi and Save a Lot.

Costco or Sam’s Club card

Both stores sell food in bulk at extremely convenient prices.

This is a tricky one but really worth putting in the extra effort, especially if you will be staying in the States for more than 1 week or with a group of people.

You can look into obtaining a membership or better, reach out to any friends or acquaintances you have in the US asking if there’s any chance they have a card for these membership only stores.

Consider car rental to get cheaper Airbnb

Sometimes you have to take a step back to take two forward.

Or in this case sometimes you gotta spend extra on transportation by renting a car so that you can get a nicer and cheaper accommodation that is located at a distance from Madison.

Of course we do not recommend staying far out from the venue during the event but it can be advantageous to rent a car and drive out in the days prior.

Final overview:

For 1 person travelling to The CrossFit Games

Games qualification stages + Games ticket: 635$
Flights: 800$
Games Preparation Camp (1 Week): 1750$
Games Week: 2750$

Grand Total: 5935$