The Ultimate community has been buzzing with talk of a league being organized on the East Coast of the United States, which promises stadiums filled with fans, teams of salaried athletes and everything one might expect from Pro-Ultimate. Though the American Ultimate Disc League (or AUDL) does not launch until spring of 2012, President and founder Josh Moore has already been working hard to establish teams and a regular season that intends on changing the face of Ultimate from an alternative player’s sport, to fan revered live sports-entertainment.
Skyd’s Elliot Trotter sat down with Josh Moore, President and founder of the American Ultimate Disc League, and Brent Steepe, AUDL’s VP of Marketing, to learn more about the AUDL’s upcoming season and what it may mean for the world of professional Ultimate.
Find out more about the AUDL @ theaudl.com
Taking your questions:
Josh Moore has agreed to respond to select questions from the comments. If you have a question about the AUDL, please post it in the comments and we’ll share Josh’s responses below.
Q: How much testing have you done on the new field sizes and it’s impact on current field strategies? — Related: Have you had experienced players and teams play with these rules to see what the overall effect is? – Jmac/Pete
A: We ran our first test game a couple months ago with some teams in the Louisville area. One thing we noticed was that initially the teams didn’t
utilize the entire width of the field just because of how they were used to playing. However, as the game went along they started utilizing the field more and the game really opened up. There were a lot of break opportunities and exciting offensive plays. The players seemed to adjust naturally and the feedback was positive. We did make some rule modifications based on test games and we have some more test games planned over the next couple months. We are always evaluating our rules to make sure we put the best product on the field that we can.
Q: Will these games be filmed and aired live or will there be replays of games online (or even on tv)? – Pete
A: Games will be available to watch in some capacity but we have not finalized these details yet. We have discussed the possibility with some production companies and will have some more discussions with more in the future. We plan to follow up with some contacts at networks before the end of the year and explore that avenue and see what we can get done.
Q: You mention in our interview that the current community sees the game from a players perspective. There are however, numerous administrators, rule designers, and promoters that have a rich understanding of the game, its organization and development. Have you consulted any of those people in organizing the AUDL? If not, why? – Elliot Trotter
A: You are absolutely correct that there are a lot of people doing a lot of great things within the sport. We’ve had discussions with multiple people within USAU, people who have organized tournaments, historians of the sport, etc. There are plenty of people that we have not talked to yet, but that is not due to a lack of interest on our part as we hope to continue to make connections within the community.
Q: If people are playing by different rules at the youth, college, and club level how can they expect to transition to a pro level (AUDL)? – Pat G
The game will be very similar in that the things that are infractions in the current game will for the most part be the same infractions in an AUDL game. The main differences between the two are the person calling the foul, which is the official in the AUDL, and the penalty enforcement for the infraction. On the strategy side, we expect a lot of the same offensive and defensive plays and strategies to be in place as the current game, however, there will surely be some modifications to account for the extra width of the field. We are confident that the players and coaches will be able to adjust easily to the AUDL rules without changing much around how they currently play.
Q: How do the quarters end? Do the teams finish the point after time runs out? Does the point end once the disc is not in the air or does it end immediately? – Fred
At the end of each period, when the clock hits 0:00 play stops when the disc stops. So if the disc is in flight and the clock then hits zero, the play continues until the disc is caught or stopped. If the catch is in the endzone, the score counts. If the clock hits 0:00 with the disc still in a player’s possession or on the ground, the period is over.