Fort Worth lands another major sports event. This one features world’s ‘fittest athletes’

Amy Wong/Courtesy of CrossFit, LLC

Fort Worth is strengthening its reputation as a destination for sports tourism after CrossFit announced Tuesday it is relocating its 2024 world championship to Dickies Arena.

Organizers cited the city’s proximity to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and the arena as major draws for relocating the event.

“Love of sport is in the DNA of most Texans, and we can’t think of a more enthusiastic audience for the games,” said CrossFit CEO Don Faul in a press release.

“Fort Worth is proud to be the host city to welcome the CrossFit Games to Texas for the very first time,” Mayor Mattie Parker said in a press release. “We look forward to introducing CrossFit athletes to the unexpected art, culture, music, and food that makes Fort Worth so special, along with the world-class event experience at Dickies Arena,” she said.

The games invite participants of all skill levels from across the world to participate in a virtual open event at their local CrossFit gym in early spring.

Roughly 320,000 participants from over 180 countries participated in the 2023 open. Those participants are whittled down through a quarter final and semifinal event.

The top athletes and teams who qualify at the semifinal event will come to Fort Worth from Aug. 8-11, 2024, to compete for the title of “Fittest on Earth.”

What’s different about the CrossFit games from other sporting events is that both spectators and the athletes have the opportunity to do these same activities in their local CrossFit gym, said Dave Castro, CrossFit’s general manager of sport and education.

There’s a sense of shared understanding of what the athletes are going through on the floor that you don’t get from other sports, he said.

The 2023 games generated $12 million in Madison, said Fort Worth sports commissioner Jason Sands in a phone interview.

Dickies Arena has been a game-changer when it comes to attracting sporting events to the city. The venue hosted first and second rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in 2022, and will once again host the NCAA women’s gymnastics championships in April.

The arena will also host the 2024 U.S. Olympic Gymnastic Championship, which will determine the National Team lineups for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in preparation for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

“As we’ve brought different national governing bodies to Fort Worth, and they get a chance to look inside Dickies Arena, they’re just blown away,” Sands said.

CrossFit representatives toured Dickies before the COVID-19 pandemic, and fell in love with the not only venue, but also Fort Worth as a whole, Castro said.

“It just really felt like a place that has a big city vibe, but could host us with a small community feeling,” Castro said.

The additional hotels in the Metroplex will also be a benefit, as demand for hotel space in Madison regularly outstripped supply, according to Castro.

Bringing this event to Fort Worth was a collaborative effort, Sands said.

“I think that resonated with CrossFit’s leadership, and we’re extremely grateful to get to host this event in Fort Worth,” he said.