Forging Elite Fitness

US licensing model takes off on local soil – and in the gym.

Forging Elite Fitness

The licensor

Operating in the US for over a decade, CrossFit began as a physical fitness programme designed to give anyone access to elite fitness. Today, it has a community of more than 4 500 gyms worldwide. All of these are small businesses that share the philosophies of CrossFit, and legally hold the licence to the CrossFit name.

The licensee

As a professional athlete and personal trainer, Sean Tangney was blown away when he was first introduced to CrossFit. He had been looking for a business opportunity, and the personal results he achieved as well as the programme’s training methods, convinced him that an affiliation with the brand would allow him access to an untapped local market through a respected and proven methodology.

Team players

“The affiliate model works really well,” says Tangney. “It allows the affiliate owner complete control and freedom to run their business as they see fit. We aren’t governed by rules or regulations regarding our pricing structures, branding, class content etc. The use of the CrossFit name gives us credibility, and the support and advice given through the international site, The CrossFit Journal, is sufficient.”


As an affiliate gym, CrossFit ProForm is competing with other gyms in the area, as well as other CrossFit licensees. “The downside to the affiliate structure is that there’s no local ‘governing body’ when it comes to CrossFit in SA, so you have no control over who opens a box in your ‘feeder area’ or how closely they’re positioned to you. On the upside, this competition helps ensure standards are kept high.”

Get your trend on

“I believe CrossFit is revolutionary in its approach to fitness, and exactly what modern, busy individuals are looking for: An excellent workout that combines fitness with personal interaction and the community feeling that comes with a smaller environment. Whether you’re a pro-athlete or a couch potato, CrossFit is a humbling experience with great camaraderie.”

The model

So, what is required to obtain a CrossFit licence?

  • In order to apply, you have to have completed your Level 1 CrossFit Coaching Certification (cost $1 000).
  • Once you have acquired your certification, submit an application as well as a motivation to the CrossFit Head Office in the US.
  • Once you have been approved as an affiliate, you’ll be required to pay an annual affiliate fee upfront of $3 000.
  • This entitles you to the use of the CrossFit logo and brand, you are registered as an official affiliate on all the relevant sites, and you have access to CrossFit’s resources.
  • Each affiliate has a different style and culture, although a common commitment to excellence, improving human movement and building a community are expected.
  • South African CrossFit gyms combine CrossFit branding with their own personal  branding, and compete against each other at the CrossFit Games, designed to build communities within each gym, as well as amongst brand members.
  • Go to for more info.

Vital Stats

Company:  CrossFit ProForm

Established:  2012

Contact person:  Sean Tangney


Email:  [email protected]

Nadine Todd
About the Author
Nadine Todd is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Magazine, the How-To guide for growing businesses. Find her on Google+.

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