Seven On: AUDL Week 1, NexGen, MLU

by | April 17, 2013, 5:00am 0

1. AUDL Week 1 & Week 2

Week 1 results are in, with the Windy City Wildfire beating the Cincinnati Revolution 26-15 and the Indianapolis Alleycats beating the Detroit Mechanix 30-24. Looks like Brodie Smith and the Windy City Wildfire will be one of the teams to beat this year, as expected. The Ken Porter led Mechanix did suffer their first loss as it seems for now that the Alleycats won’t miss Brodie too much.

With week 2 this coming weekend, there are three teams to look out for: the Madison Radicals, Toronto Rush and Minnesota Wind Chill. These three teams are all out of strong USAU Club Nationals cities, and if their rosters can find chemistry early on they could become favorites to contend with Chicago and take the AUDL championship. The Radicals’ games, one against the Wildfire and the other against the Mechanix, should be an exciting way for them to start their inaugural season as we’ll be able to see where their talents fall overall.

Outside of that, this weekend brings the battle of New York with the Rochester Dragons taking on the New York Empire, and a first look at the new Philadelphia Phoenix (a team that has been forced into a talent draw with the MLU’s Spinners).

2. Ticket Prices

Sludge Output compiled all of the ticket prices for the pro ultimate teams. My first impression is that the Madison Radicals are probably going to be big winners in all of this with $35 for 8 home games – big ultimate city, cheap tickets, and a (presumably) good team – if anyone is going to see success, they have a great shot.

But then I instantly jumped, as did many, to just how much the MLU games cost. For $16 you can experience one of the 5 home games your season tickets will get you – that’s roughly 4 games in Madison. While we don’t know if their product is superior to the AUDL’s, though I do get the “Act As If” mentality the MLU has adopted, I did exactly what Charlie Eisenhood of Ultiworld did. He looked up how much he could go see a Mets game that day and I looked up how much I could see a Buffalo Sabres game. While it wasn’t as cheap as his findings, this week’s game against the New York Rangers is only $10 more than an MLU ticket.

My point and, Charlie’s as well, is that while the MLU is trying to act more professional, their ticket prices look a little high and that could hurt them. Though, they could still end up being the cheapest sporting event in town though; all of the cities have (at least) one major league team that is or recently was gearing up for a playoff run, and tickets to winning teams (Sabres, Mets… dang) usually cost more, as more people want to see them. But the MLU hasn’t proven itself to be winners yet. If they do have strong attendance, and high ticket sales, then the decision by Jeff Snader and co. will only seem that much wiser. And don’t forget that when the MLU kits were unveiled last week, many had sponsors across the front – so maybe a slight lag in ticket sales won’t be hurtful to the league at all.

3. 2013 NexGen Roster

The new phonebook’s here! This year’s NexGen Roster was announced, minus one mystery player (to be announced), and it’s a tad Ego heavy. Of the 14 players, they certainly have the All-Star pedigree. Besides the three Ego players (Freechild, Honn and Allison-Hall) the roster includes Aaron Neal, a player from the land down under, which keeps with a recent international trend. Along with the additions of Trent Dillon (Pitt/Southpaw), Nicholas Stuart (Carleton), and Jay Clark (Georgia Tech/Chain Lightning) the Tour should be just as exciting as years past.

With the addition of an international player once again, I wonder if they will also add a overseas game against that player’s team. Granted, that game may or may not have to be on US soil, but with international teams being invited to USA Ultimate’s US Open, perhaps there are opportunities afterall.

In the comment section of the NexGen announcement, people started speculating who the last addition could be. In it, comments call for some more Southeast or Great Lakes region love. If they don’t find someone from the Northeast (especially if Tufts/Harvard ramps things up come Regionals), then going the D3 route again (Tommy Li last year) would be a smart choice. The increased exposure of the skill in that division would be beneficial to its development.

4. MLU Fantasy

Fantasy MLU was just announced. It definitely seems a lot more comprehensive than the AUDL version. It looks like instead of competing against everyone (as you do in the AUDL fantasy league), you start a league with your friends, draft players and compete against them there – as you would for fantasy football, hockey, etc. I haven’t had a chance to draft yet (friends are a little slow in joining, hint, hint), but I’m looking forward to this fantasy league more so than ‘Unbenchable’ and the AUDL, especially if it’s anything like what I already do for other sports. Once I’ve had the opportunity to play with it, I plan on going through it more in depth.

Since launch, ‘Unbenchable‘ appears to have made some improvements to their system, that make it more user-friendly. New search functionality when picking players make it much, much easier to pick a team.

5. MLU Week 1

All MLU teams are in action this weekend, as week 1 starts up. I’m interested in two things: attendance and streaming . If attendance is high, then be ready to trash my earlier point on ticket prices. In the long run for MLU, I think I’d rather end up with my foot in my mouth than for the ticket prices to actually hurt them.

From a streaming side, if there are problems like there were during the free stream two weekends ago, it won’t be a great start for MLU’s apparent professionalism. With the way the schedule works out, I think the first few matchups will be solely getting the quirks of the rules and team-chemistry down. The playoffs determine the conference champions, and then those teams face off. As long as teams aren’t give up too many points in these early games (I assume this would be a tiebreaker, as it is in most other sports), a couple losses to start the season wouldn’t be an insurmountable setback.

6. In-Game Decision Making

The article “Thin-Slicking: The Power of Simplifying In-Game Decision Making” by Peter Adam on Ultiworld combines an earlier article on moving football’s checkdown to ultimate and the work of Malcom Gladwell. The book Adam references, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking is an interesting read, it deals with the unconscious mental processes that are made quickly. Take a moment to read the article, and the book too if you’ve got time. Could help you out next time you step on the field.

7. And… a mailbag?

There’s going to be one weekend in between the end of regionals, and the start of D3 Nationals that could be a little slow in ultimate news. While the AUDL/MLU will be in the midst of their seasons, and club teams will be starting to gear up, there’s only so many times you can preview the different teams at Nationals and go over the other leagues action. Why not do a mailbag then? So feel free to send me an email ( with ANY questions you have. The editors and I will pick a few, and I’ll answer those during next week’s article. While I’m not opposed to going full Bill Simmons and just answering any question ever, ultimate/sports questions are preferred. Granted I have some opinions on Taylor Swift that could rock the foundation of the pop music world.

Feature photo of 2012 NexGen team. (Photo by Kevin Leclaire –

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