Tuesday, July 30, 2013

MLU Improvements

Back in August 2012, I posted a batch of improvements for the original professional Ultimate league. The same criteria is used to evaluate Major League Ultimate.

Marketing. Promos had a consistent look/feel about them & were supplemented with the help of UltiPhotos. Most team logos received a high grade.

Contact more sports channels than just ESPN. Congrats on being featured on SportsCenter's Top10 multiple times, and full games replayed on The Comcast Network (TCN). Watching the live games & the archived games via YouTube is very convenient.

Add a video recap of weekend games. The full game videos look great in hi-def; though, a more condensed version of game recaps would have been superb. Plays of the Week act as good exposure for the league, and thus, the sport.

More sponsorship on jerseys. Sure, each team had a sponsor on their kits. However, the sponsors dominated the jerseys and may have hurt team branding. Is it the DC Current or the DC Waveborn??

Detailed standings. Standings were easily viewable on the MLU homepage & on each team's website. Furthermore, the player stats (points, goals, assists, throws, completions, catches, defense, stall, drop, bookend, Callahan, Greatest) were a nice feature to track on a per-game basis and throughout the season. Also, Injury Reports were, umm, very specific.

Track "Spirit of Sportsmanship" Rule. Unfortunately, no such data were kept. Tracking occurrences of players & coaches patting their heart with their right hand would be a boost to SOTG preservationists.

Interview preparation. Most MLU mentions published quotes from MLU executives which limited any player gaffes. Still unclear is why a player gag order was limited to one media source (Ultiworld), but not another (The Washington Post)? BOO!

Timing. Ten (10) weeks of season seemed just about right, plus the post-season finely straddles the Club season.

Update websites regularly. New content and game updates were posted on an impressively consistent basis.

Define THE Ultimate jersey. Well done. The 3/4 sleeve is the distinct feature for MLU's pro Ultimate team jersey. Of note, jersey replicas were not offered for sale. For what it's worth, the shorts look way too baggy for these trim athletes.

Add field players. Consider adding one more for 8 players to be on the line. True, 7 is so traditional, but the quick MLU game could benefit from more defense with 16 total players for this action-packed sport.

Modify end zones. I'm all for use the existing football field dimensions. The problem area is the MLU endzones which are twice as big as the designated football endzones. Twenty (20) yards is a lot of space to defend against, plus it looks strange on the video when a player "scores" before the endzone. Use the existing 10 yards of designated endzones just like you are using the current sidelines.

Now for some MLU-specific feedback:
Announce Beneficiaries. The intention of "spreading the wealth, one outstanding play at a time" was supplanted with "RT this amazing play #SCTop10" please. State which organizations - especially Ultimate-related entities - that benefited from the weekly player bonuses; otherwise, the goodwill appears as lip service. While you're at it, proudly publish the donation amount for how much MLUcares.

Limit Player Absences. Not counting player injuries, there seemed to be a lot of "Approved Absences". This type of information is disappointing to learn 1-2 days before a game. Remember: when you sell game tickets, you're retailing sports entertainment. And, watching a game without its star player(s) loses its luster.

MLULive: The video quality is quality and the $0 price tag can't be beat.There's room for improvement in the game announcing, especially the awkwardness of sideline reporting. Besides adding more cameras, the wide angle camera perspective should be in the direction of those in attendance; otherwise, it appears that no one is in attendance at the games (EXAMPLE: Fans vs NO Fans).

Congratulations on completing your inaugural season, MLU! Looking forward to 2014.

NOTE: I'm first & foremost a fan of Ultimate. I attended multiple MLU games (in DC, SF & Philly) and followed the 2013 season. These suggestions are meant as constructive feedback to aid the sport.

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