A hidden distinction between NexGen and USA Ultimate’s Triple Crown is the financial layout for each league. Reading between the lines, USAU plans to use monies generated from the broader rank-and-file to buy air time. NexGen will use gate sales and online subscriptions to support a stripped down front office strictly focused on elite men’s.
There is a lot an organization like USAU can do with the power of the larger group it represents. An organization like USAU also has the resources to help use the high level of play from these top teams to help grow and promote the sport. This is done again with resources from the larger community, b/c the outcomes benefit the larger community. Media coverage of these events and resources brought in by associated sponsors are used to not only promote and support the teams, but to promote and support the sport in general.
I see three divisions each requiring their own unique approach. I’m focused on the elite open division because the revenue streams, while small, allow for a drastically different direction than women’s or mixed.
The elite teams have essentially unionized in preparation for negotiations with USAU. Minderhout’s tour precipitated private discussions within the group of 18 teams. The teams have selected representation and will begin negotiating with USAU this week. Kurt Gibson is acting as the spokesman for the group. Beyond these very basic facts, the teams have chosen not to comment on the coming discussions.
Nationally unions have not fared well this year, so it will be interesting to see how the talks play out. The outcome will hinge on two things: How willing is USAU to bend? How much short term pain are the elite teams willing to suffer to ensure long term gain. Isn’t that always how labor-management negotiations play out?