Thursday, March 31, 2016

AUDL Improvements for 2016

The 2015 American Ultimate Disc League season ended back in August. There's still some improvements from last year needing to be addressed - particularly the field size and tracking integrity rules.  Anyway, let's reflect on how this semi-pro ultimate league can improve this upcoming season (2016). 

1. Timeliness for Friday Games
If fans attending (or watching) a Friday game, then you experienced either the game not starting on time as scheduled or players not showing up on time due to travel.

A few examples:
Chicago at Indy on Friday, May 1
Pittsburgh at Chicago on Friday, June 12
Raleigh at Atlanta on June 5, 2015
Flyers' players were just arriving at halftime.

For Friday night games, teams should prepare to arrive earlier than expected. Even though it's still ultimate, the game needs to professionalized.

2. Better Recording in the AUDL App
This new smartphone app promoted as a way for a fan "to follow all the AUDL action." Unfortunately, not all AUDL teams were on board to allow fans to follow along. Require teams to properly score their games.

3. Expand league coverage for all teams/all divisions; more than the wild West
If teams weren't near the top of their division, then those teams lacked coverage from the league. The exception was the West Division, which was understandably loaded on the ESPN3 2015 schedule.  The league should have an obligation to represent all AUDL teams as it continues to expands its fanbase.

4. Reward Home Teams in Postseason
For scheduling purposes, the #2 seeds in 3 divisions did not play their wildcard playoff games at home. In the Midwest Division, Pittsburgh played a postseason doubleheader in Madison; New York played away in Montreal for the East and Seattle was on the road in San Francisco for the West. This was a quirk of the schedule, though still unfair to the teams that earned a postseason bid.

5. League Finances and Compensation
The AUDL Spirit Challenge fundraised $755,600, which is a lot of money, yet short of their $1 million goal. Props to the incredible charity.  Again, that's a lot of coin.

At the $25-per-game rate, an ultimate player who spends 3* hours "working" at their scheduled game is only making at/below minimum wage. [*# used only for the sake of argument. I am very much aware players show up way before the game start and leave long after game's end.]

The fact is the league has proven to be able to raise three-quarters of a million dollars. What's concerning is the lack of proper compensation for the ultimate athletes.It's nearing the time to use those financier skills to better compensate AUDL players.

At a minimum, the league should monetarily reward all deserving players who earned a League Award: Steel Spirit Award, Divisional & League MVP Award(s), weekly top play(s) honors. Plus, prize money should be available for ALL playoff teams, ALL teams winning their division (regular season titles & division championships), for runner-up team - not just the winning team - in the AUDL Championship game.

NOTE: The author followed the 2015 season plus attended multiple AUDL games in DC and watched games online. These suggestions are meant as constructive feedback to support the professional sport.


Anthony said...

It still might not be financially feasible for the players to be paid higher. Most AUDL teams are still operating in the red (losing money). The owner's expenses are pretty high - travel/equipment for the players, cost of venues, etc.

Once the teams are in the black, then I can see the players getting compensated more. We're already starting to see more superstar players getting more in compensation (see Roughnecks)

Sludge said...

TO: Anthony
Thanks for the feedback.

I absolutely agree - the AUDL TEAMS are not able to compensate their players. However, I sense the LEAGUE's bank are/can be rich enough to recognize players monetarily. Again, I seek the league to compensate the players for awards, regular season titles, post-season appearances & wins.