Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ultimate as an ESPN Sport

Back in August 2012, I read a tweet that prompted me to quantify Ultimate as sport.

For all the ways to describe Ultimate (soccer-esque, basketball-ish, tennis-like, quasi-football, with a flying disc), this ESPN "Ultimate Degree of Difficulty Grid" helped me break down the Ultimate sport. Again, Ultimate is *NOT* on the ESPN list.

After that tweet, I thought about how to conduct a similar evaluation of Ultimate as a sport. I have lots of ideas, so my first step was to see if my concept was even feasible. I contacted Ultiworld after meeting him in the fall, and Charlie validated my idea. I also asked UltiCards & they excitedly responded with a blog post about it.

ESPN's approach was they identified 10 categories, or skills, that go into athleticism, and then asked their 8 panelists to assign a number from 1 to 10 to the demands each sport makes of each of those 10 skills. The Top-10 ESPN Sports are: (1) Boxing, (2) Ice Hockey, (3) Football, (4) Basketball, (5) Wrestling, (6) Martial Arts, (7) Tennis, (8) Gymnastics, (9) Baseball/Softball, (10) Soccer.

I then developed a survey to capture the 10 areas for sport evaluation, plus some demographic data. The survey launched with the help of a lovely coder who allowed many 'just-1-more-edit' updates.

Finally in March 2013, I surveyed a range of Subject Matter Experts (SME) within the Ultimate field (i.e., trainers, teams, players, pro leagues, instructors, media, etc.) asking their objective opinion. Immediately after asking the SMEs, you may have noticed some comments [Skyd, Ultimate Rob, ultimateproblems] about this very query -- Where would/should Ultimate rank in the ESPN Sports list?

Since then, interestingly, USA Ultimate announced their deal with ESPN. Now that the SMEs have had their say, the survey will soon be is open for YOU to weigh in.

Look for the survey to be opened very soon now. Survey results about Ultimate is expected to be shared here & on Ultiworld in the near future.

Giving credit due where credit is deserved...thanks again to Jeff Snader for influencing this effort.

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