Today on the podcast we’re joined by Matt O’Keefe, President of Loud and Live Sports, and Dylan Malitsky, Loud and Live’s VP of Strategic Development. Matt also represents many of the biggest names in CrossFit, including Mat Fraser, Katrin Davidsdottir and Tia-Clair Toomey.
Our Elite Performance Manager and resident CrossFit expert Mike Lombardi sits down with Matt and Dylan to discuss building their business and the lessons they’ve learned to help get where they are today. They also talk about the future of CrossFit and how events like Wodapalooza will continue to shape the sport, as well as what WHOOP does for CrossFit athletes and how it can enable them to reach a broader audience and become more mainstream.
On another note, we’ve just announced that WHOOP is now available in Australia! If you’re listening down under, stay tuned for a discount code later in the show.
3:17 - What is Loud and Live? “An entertainment, sports and marketing agency,” Matt says. “About 18 months ago I came on to start the sports side of things.”
5:18 - Dylan’s Background as Games MC. He started as a volunteer judge at Wodapalooza.
7:22 - Matt’s Rise to CrossFit Super-Agent. “I was an insurance salesman turned sports agent,” Matt says. “I was taught to think big from a young age, I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit.”
9:46 - Meeting Mat Fraser. “Really a lot of the right place at the right time,” Matt recalls. “That really was the pivotal moment.”
11:15 - Creating the Pro CrossFit Athlete. Matt recalls a conversation years ago with Fraser in his kitchen, and saying “We’ve got to plan for success.”
14:29 - Lessons for Success. “It’s about building long-term relationships,” Matt says. “One of our mottos is action over intention,” Dylan adds.
16:33 - Evolution of the Sport. “The last 5 years have been a really nice time to be in this space,” Matt notes. “Really there was just a huge group of us all doing the same thing, which is suffering like crazy to grow something you’re passionate about. … That's what CrossFit is all about, community, suffering together, building people up and helping each other through the thick of it.”
18:32 - Wodapalooza. How did it become everyone’s favorite event? “We saw a void in South Florida, people wanted a place to showcase their ability,” Dylan says. “I remember the first year we had some random person walk onto the competition floor and pick up a barbell. … And now for it to be this place that all the elite want to compete is truly humbling. We just have stayed true to that original intention of celebrating fitness, community and life.”
22:39 - Replicating that Popularity with other competitions. “Each of these events has to have it’s own identity,” Matt says. “We want to build an event that the local community is super proud of and is culturally sound for them.”
24:25 - Granite Games. Matt says he “Couldn’t be more excited about that, we’re going to move it to Minneapolis” to make it more accessible. “All those 1-percents start to add up to a really good experience … All the rest of the stuff that we need to accomplish trickles down from that.”
28:53 - Workout Programming & Inside Info? “We have so many phenomenal minds in this space, why don’t we put them all in a room?” Matt explains. “We don’t want anything to feel as if they have an unfair competitive advantage,” Dylan adds. “They don’t know the workouts whatsoever when gameday comes around, but they are instrumental in helping us develop the concepts around what the programming needs to look like.”
34:22 - The Open’s Future in Jeopardy? “I believe that people love the Open and will continue to do it.” Matt says. He and Dylan both compete in it. “More than half the people who do the Open are 35 and over, they’re not doing it to go anywhere.”
40:30 - Too Long a Season. “We’ve watched what’s it’s done to the athlete this year, it’s a disaster,” Matt says. “How do you tour an individual athlete?” He believes there are many things that can be learned from golf in this capacity. “I think events will separate themselves from a prize-money perspective.”
45:32 - WHOOP & CrossFit. “I think your technology is a platform that can help our sport be understood by a broader group of people,” Matt says. “You quantify suffering, which is what our sport is.” He speculates about live recovery and strain data being used in broadcasts.
48:19 - Heart Rate Prior to Competition. “It’d be so cool to see how amped they’re getting before a lift.”
48:34 - Relatability. WHOOP can let you compare your HRV to Matt Frasier. Dylan wonders, “How similar am I to the best in the world?”
50:16 - Growth Through Innovation. “We want to be a catalyst in the market, we want to be the platform to try things out and be different.”
51:22 - Learn More on Instagram @loud_live.