Celebrating Sean Woodland, the Voice of the Crossfit Games


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • The CrossFit community received some unhappy news this week, as Sean Woodland, the “Voice of the CrossFit Games,” was not asked back to call the 2024 Games in Fort Worth. We talked with him about his career (so far) and some of our (and his) favorite Sean moments.

  • Are free trials the “pineapple on pizza” of gym ownership? We talked to the owners who love them and those who wish they never existed. Learn more below.

  • Tommy Marquez has worked alongside Sean Woodland for almost his entire career. Today, he reflects on how his friend and mentor changed the game in CrossFit media.


“Every single broadcaster who has graced CrossFit's channels during the last 12 Games seasons has been helped by Sean Woodland at some point.” - Tommy Marquez on the beloved CrossFit broadcaster’s influence


Credit: @swoodland53 / Instagram

Changing the Games: Sean Woodland Reflects On More Than a Decade of CrossFit Broadcasts

On his Instagram account earlier this week, Sean Woodland, the “Voice of the CrossFit Games,” shared that after 12 years, he was informed that he would not be calling the CrossFit Games this coming August. 

  • “To say that I am disappointed would be a major understatement. I was far from ready to give up a role that has meant more to me in my career than any other I have had,” Woodland shared on Instagram.

He went on to say that, as of the time of his post, he had not been informed of the reason for the decision or who specifically made the call to exclude him from the broadcast. 

He thanked all the fans and athletes who have supported him through the years, allowing him to realize his dream of calling play-by-play on national television. 

Woodland then graciously wished Chase Ingraham the best in his opportunity to call the Games in his home state of Texas this year. 

  • “He has more than earned this chance and I cannot wait to hear him on the mic,” Woodland concluded.

Ingraham responded in kind on Instagram, showing the respect the two have for each other:

  • “You are and always will be (I believe again, it has to) be the Voice of the CrossFit Games. You have mentored me and supported me since the very beginning and I am very thankful for you. I would not be here if it weren’t for you.”

Some History

After graduating from San Francisco State University, Woodland got his “first real TV job” in 1997 in Kalispell, MT.

  • “Technically, I was the sports director there, but I was the only sports guy at the station,” Woodland told the Morning Chalk Up.


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📋⏱️Training Camp Coaching Changes: As we head into the final training push before the 2024 CrossFit Games, some key coaching changes have been announced. Keifer Lammi has joined the PRVN Training coaching staff, while Casey Acree was named Head of Programming at Underdogs Athletics.

🚐 📉 CrossFit Games RV Campground Pricing Update: Staying in the RV campground adjacent to the Dickies Arena at the 2024 CrossFit Games in Fort Worth just got a whole lot cheaper. The CrossFit Games team dropped RV camping space rental from $1300 to $480. Reserve yours now.

🎟️📈 Known and Knowable Games Ticket Tracker: Mike Halpin, the mind behind Known & Knowable, is keeping an eye on the 2024 CrossFit Games ticket resale prices on StubHub, Vivid Seats, and Ticketmaster. If you are still hoping to get your hands on a couple, find the best available deals here.

ICYMI: Is the “sophomore slump” a thing at the CrossFit Games? We tracked every two-time (or more) Games athlete and crunched the numbers.


Credit: @crossfitravage / Instagram

Are Free Trials Helping or Hurting Your CrossFit Business?

A free trial at a CrossFit gym is a bit like pineapple on pizza—a polarizing subject that can lead to heated emotions.

  • In other words, when you ask a group of gym owners whether onboarding new clients via a free class or a free week is a good idea, you can expect to watch the mud-slinging begin.

The bottom line: Free trials have been around at CrossFit affiliates since the early days, and while many have abandoned them for various reasons, others still say they’re a great way to generate business. 

The Proponents

Those who offer free trials—be it a free class, a free week, or even a full month—say it’s an effective way to get people through the doors and turn them into paying members of the gym.

Avery Jesmer, the owner of CrossFit Ravage in Medford, OR, offers a free week, and her conversion rate is 93 percent.

  • “Not everyone walks in the door or inquires for the same reason. Some people are looking for belonging or community, others are experienced but want coaching and programming, and some are looking to become well. Giving them time to experience all that your affiliate has to offer will appeal to any of the reasons why they came,” she told Morning Chalk Up in an interview. 

Tino Hildebrandt, the owner of CrossFit Virage in Hamburg, Germany, is another owner who says the free trial works for his business, as conversion isn’t the hard part. Getting people to show up is the hard part, he explained, and free trials make this easier.

Hildebrandt offers a free trial class but also sits down with the prospect for 10 to 15 minutes before the class to chat.

  • “I close 75 percent of all trials this way,” he said.


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Credit: Will Duncan (@willduncanphoto / Instagram)

The Voice of the CrossFit Games

Every sport has its legendary voice that has been the conduit between athlete and fan. 

  • Names like Vin Scully, Pat Summerall, and Jack Buck are thrown as all-time great announcers because their words amplified the highs and lows that sports bring us. 

Sean Woodland is that voice for the CrossFit Games, and it's no mistake that the sport’s massive growth, along with what many view as the sport's best years, coincided with Sean's direct involvement. 

If you think of your favorite Games moment, odds are it's Sean's voice that you hear serving it to you on a platter of golden vocal cords. 

To celebrate his birthday this year, Lauren Kalil, the third member of our Talking Elite Fitness team, and I reminisced about some of our favorites.

  • But, it would be a travesty to sum up his importance to just those moments. 

He made our CrossFit Games broadcasts network-worthy for ESPN and CBS as the guiding voice on air. He wrote hundreds if not thousands of scripts and recorded voice-overs for countless videos that motivated and inspired us. 

He hosted live studio shows and produced network television episodes that ran and streamed in almost every country on this planet. 

  • He did all of this and more with a level of professionalism and kindness that exemplified the spirit of CrossFit at its core. 

But perhaps his greatest accomplishment is the tree of influence he has cultivated through his selflessness over the years as a leader for all of us hoping to become media professionals. 

Every single person who has graced CrossFit's channels during the last 12 Games seasons as a broadcaster has been helped by Sean Woodland at some point.

  • If this were professional football, his coaching tree would just be every coach in the NFL, no joke.


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  • ❤️Happy belated anniversary (6/26) to Josh and Hayley Murillo.

  • Check out Graciano Rubio, the Wall Street Weightlifter, push press 192 kilos/425 pounds.

  • Congratulations to everyone who participated in the CrossFit Service Cup. The results are up; see who won. 🥇

  • Congratulations to Matt and his team from CrossFit High Gear in Medina, OH, on taking first place at the Masters Team Throwdown.

  • 😮‍💨Nice job to Henrik Haapalainen on taking this 305-kilo/672-pound yoke for a walk.