Reebok is a joke, but it's still hard to argue with a large corporate sponsorship with an assload of cash.
The crossfit games really are taking off, compared to just 2 years ago where it was really a relatively small gathering at a little ranch in Aromas, CA. Last year they moved to some stadium. I watched it and am generally impressed with the caliber of athletes in the upper echelons of their "sport".
I'm interested to see how these games go and who wins it. Now that $$ is there, I want to actually see some real athletes transitioning in. The high level competitors are good, but I want to see some real professional level capable athletes enter, who couldn't make it professionally for whatever reason. Already, a lot of the top level guys are ex-collegiate athletes in sports with no earning potential or an inability to make it in a real league.
The marketing appeal is there, as these athletes tend to be muscular, more muscular and stronger than most 'hobbyist'/wannabe bodybuilders, lean, and in shape (relatively strong and conditioned).
I do disagree with the un-marketability of powerlifting though. I don't think the general exercise population will be impressed or is even capable of understanding, fat guys with multiple plies moving obscene amounts of weight. I do think that there are competing powerlifters out there that are capable of being marketed towards more general 'fitness' oriented people.
In the end though, most people paying for memberships at crossfit gyms tend to be very easily led, weekend warrior types. They have a large amount of discretionary income and tend to tow the party line when it comes to what gear to purchase (vibrams + boardshorts) what supplements to take (progenex). I know this because I've been training with 2 crossfit trainers, both who are going to regionals, one as a team and one individual.
The handjobbing is large with this group, as pretty much whenever anybody does anything they are rubbing each others backs and telling each other how good or inspirational their performance was.
The one girl gets it, and has spent the last year or so working on strength, while doing a couple crossfit workouts a week. She still spends her cash on overpriced whey protein. I still think the other one is clueless and does whatever she is told. She also gets very butthurt when we joke about the stupid shit she does.
You can build a crossfit gym with 10 bars a stack of 25lb bumpers, a pull up rig, and a place to run. You can charge people $150/month for group workouts where they are in and out in <45 minutes with a warmup and cooldown. You don't even need to give them a place to shower.
These clients present a huge group of people willing to give their money to reebok. Somebody posted a sample pic of reebok's prototype crossfit shoe somewhere. Glassman is making a killing on this as well. $3000/year affiliate fee's, level 1 certification fees, crossfit journal subscriptions and what not. Not to mention, entry fees for the games and specatator fees, plus now corporate sponsorship.
Powerlifters on the other hand, are cheap as shit.