- British sports retailer WIT has replaced Reebok as CrossFit’s official global e-commerce and retail partner in a multi-year, multi-million dollar deal signed last month
- The 2015-founded London-based company will operate an official online CrossFit e-commerce store and sponsor the annual CrossFit Games
- Reebok split from CrossFit in 2020 after former Founder and CEO Greg Glassman tweeted “It’s Floyd-19” in response to a tweet about racism being a public health issue
- “CrossFit Inc. has taken the essential steps needed to increase representation and inclusivity within the training space,” WIT CEO and Co-Founder Dan Williams told Welltodo. “We believe that we can further that initiative”
LONDON, United Kingdom — British sportswear retailer WIT Fitness became the official global e-commerce and retail partner of CrossFit, LLC last month, replacing former sponsor Reebok following an acrimonious split last year.
The multi-year deal will see WIT operate an official online CrossFit store, sponsor the annual CrossFit Games and sell CrossFit-branded gear at its flagship London site, as well as CrossFit competitions around the world.
Dan Williams, CEO and Co-Founder of WIT — which stands for Whatever It Takes — revealed the partnership would run for multiple years and be worth several million dollars. “It encompasses all global e-commerce, physical retail and events,” he told Welltodo.
“Our strategic priority as a business over the next 24 months is to extend our digital ecosystem into multiple new territories, including Asia-Pacific and South America. This partnership with CrossFit will allow us to fast-track this and also replicate this ecosystem for them.”
While the deal represents a major coup for the 2015-founded British brand, it also reflects a new era for CrossFit, with WIT replacing Reebok, which had a 10-year exclusive deal as title sponsor of the CrossFit Games and was the sole licensee of CrossFit apparel and shoes until 2020.
The American sportswear giant cut ties with CrossFit last summer in response to inflammatory comments made by former Founder and CEO Greg Glassman amid the George Floyd protests. As a result, Glassman stepped down on June 9th 2020, and on June 24th, former tech entrepreneur Eric Roza bought the company for a reported $200 million.
“CrossFit had simply gotten it wrong”
In spite of these failings, Williams believes CrossFit has radically reformed its image under Roza’s leadership and embraced greater representation and inclusivity, which WIT intends to further promote.
“When the team at WIT responded to the backlash surrounding CrossFit, particularly with regard to CrossFit’s previous ownership, in summer 2020, we stood up firmly and publicly with the belief that fitness should be for all,” Williams said.
“Inclusivity is and will always be a core value for our team, and we operate with the belief that racism or bigotry of any form has no place within the health and wellness space, or any other for that matter.”
Williams said that WIT, along with many brands and stakeholders within the training space, “challenged a company that had simply gotten it wrong and wasn’t listening to the needs of its community”.
Adding: “But through a change in ownership, radical accountability and active listening over the past year, CrossFit Inc. has taken the essential steps needed to increase representation and inclusivity within the training space, and we believe that we can further that initiative.”
Inclusive Pop-up Programme
In order to achieve greater representation, Williams revealed that the company would be running WIT x CrossFit pop-up training experiences, encouraging local communities to train for free and experience the WIT and CrossFit retail collection first hand.
“As many people as possible deserve access to this space that we all love, and more than access, any marginalised or underrepresented communities deserve to feel at home within this wider training community,” Williams said.
Adding: “Our ambition is that through providing an open and inclusive network of free classes, we can get as many people moving as possible and increase representation within CrossFit.”
Commenting on the partnership, Roza said: “WIT, a retailer that grew up in the CrossFit community, shares our vision of transforming 100 million lives through CrossFit.
He added: “We are delighted to partner with WIT to create a first-of-its-kind CrossFit online retail experience, as well as offering CrossFit-branded merchandise in its London location and at major CrossFit events.”
WIT targeting “larger growth round of funding”
Williams also revealed that although footwear sales dropped from 60% of revenue to 40% as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, its online growth had accelerated over the past 12 months by 120% versus last year.
“Lockdown has only accelerated the number of new consumers training and that has certainly benefited us and extended the age range of our core demographic, as well as increasing our brand awareness amongst this new consumer,” he said.
Having raised £1 million in crowdfunding in 2016 and £3.5 million in private equity in 2019-20, WIT is now targeting a “larger growth round of funding” in 2022.
The company plans to “build out its international digital footprint and supercharge its own label”, as well as add further bricks and mortar sites across Europe and the US.
Presuming Roza continues to clean up CrossFit’s global image, WIT’s affiliation with the sport will surely help it achieve this goal sooner rather than later.