The NPFL (National Pro Fitness League) is the world’s first professional sports league with co-ed team’s competition in “human performance races”. Basically, it’s a professional sports league where the best fitness athletes compete in teams and in front of spectators (also televised) throughout a season to win the league for that season – much like soccer, rugby, NBA, etc.
It could to turn the sport of fitness into a full time job for some of the world’s best fitness athletes, raising the levels at which they currently compete at. The implication and impact on CrossFit and other forms of fitness training are immense.
How It Works
Two teams of eight athletes (four men and four women, with one of each being over 40-years-old) will go head-to-head in “matches” throughout a season. Each match would be two-hours long, will feature eleven races and will have fixed yet flexible rules, allowing teams to strategize and possibly even beat “fitter” teams through smart tactics. Each event will be known beforehand and there will be a consistent structure for each match.
Initially, at the launch, only eight teams will compete until the full season kicks off. Athletes can’t sign up to participate, but would need to be drafted and signed to teams. Teams will draft athletes to participate, allowing them to perform a series of individual lifts, skills, drills, and workouts. The top men and women will be invited to team-based try-outs and the best of them will then be invited to a final series of try-outs. Each team would be run like a typical league based sports team (again, think soccer, rugby, NBA, etc.), and each would be operated independently.
Here’s a sample workout video
Where Is It Based
It is a USA based initiative, but it’ll likely expand to the rest of the world, with Europe surely being the next stop, if it is successful. So far teams will come from San Francisco, New York, LA, Phoenix and Philadelphia (three more teams might be added in the next phase and even more in 2015).
When Does It Start
The planned date is for late August 2014 for the initial eight teams. The first full season is planned to launch from 2015.
Who Is Running It
Tony Budding. He is one of the originals from CrossFit who effectively ran the media for them. It would then seem obvious that it’s likely not a very nice split between them, but let’s wait and see what develops.
Here’s an interview with him about the NPFL
Whether this takes off is yet to be seen. Undoubtedly the biggest base of interest and the athletes for the teams would come from CrossFit and so far there seems there’s a lot of interest in the initiative and what it’s about, but how much is also yet to be seen.
From what we gather, this is not something aimed to compete against CrossFit or the CrossFit Games – in fact it would almost rely on CrossFit’s continued success to produce athletes they need for these teams. What it will potentially do is give many more CrossFit and similar athletes the opportunity to turn their love for fitness into a full time job, apparently earning “$2,500” per match initially. So let’s see where this all goes and how well it works…