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Author Topic: The Future of the AUDL  (Read 4147 times)
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msb.nagel
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« on: May 09, 2012, 01:03:17 PM »

What does everything think the future outlook of the AUDL looks like? Personally, I am having a number of doubts. I would love to discuss some of the issues that I feel are relevant and get a feel for what the community thinks. A few issues I would like to touch on:

-New rules and refs
-Publicity
-Sustainability

   I believe that the new rules and refs are a great addition to the sport. I understand the concern some people have with this, but I believe they are needed to legitimize the sport. Yes, I am a big fan of spirt of the game, but anyone who has played at a competitive level can understand that it can be difficult to make an 'accurate' and 'honest' call in the heat of the moment. The sport is very specific. Picks, screens, fouls, violations, and the like can be difficult to assess when you are focused on playing. I support yardage penalties because I believe it's needed to discourage unsportsmanlike conduct.

   My greatest concern with the AUDL is how it is handling its publicity. I firmly believe their gravest mistake was allowing a pay-per-view style publication of the games. I understand the need for revenue, but I believe this is poorly thought through. I cannot be the only one who thinks that it is ridiculous to charge viewers per game. The prices range anywhere from $2.99 to $7.99 depending on how desperate they appear. More importantly, they offer no promises on quality. I surely do not expect ESPN quality camera resolution and angles, so how do I know what I am paying for? And more importantly, how do you expect to increase recognition of the sport? No one outside of avid hardcore Ultimate players are going to be interested in paying. It is absolutely phenomenal that the sport is making ESPN highlights, but that alone is not enough to ensure the continued promotion of the sport. Spreading highlights of games limits the public view of the sport. I love watching full games of Ultimate just as much as I love watching full games of basketball. If you don't allow viewership to grow, the public will continue to be as bored with the sport as they are now. They need an opportunity to watch the sport in its entirety to learn to appreciate the flow and movement of the sport, to appreciate the strategies, defense, and offense. Yes, highlights are amazing. But they are hurting viewership because people only want to see the big plays and don't want to watch the sport, especially not if they have to pay for it. I would gladly pay money to view the sport in person. I would gladly pay $15 - $20 for tickets, but not to view it on the internet. The AUDL should look to other venues to raise revenue.   

   The sustainability of the sport is at stake. They are fighting for attention. I’m not even convinced they will make it past their first year unless they promote promote promote.  Yet the website seems poorly run, I can rarely find up-to-date highlights, and find the entire league lacking in commitment. Where is the excitement? Where are the cheers? Where is the trash-talking? Why does the pro-shop lack any quality products? Thoughts, comments, concerns?

-Nagel

Feel free to email me at:
[email protected]

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Derek M
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2012, 05:33:29 PM »

Too be honest, I don't like the yardage penalties, I think a penalty box would be better suited. I whole-heartedly agree. I think streaming live for free, and add in advertisements would be a better, more successful system. The pro shop is terrible as well. This is starting to look like a high school or college league. I am subscribed to sky'd so that's good because they have good free coverage. My big problem is the lack of advertising. I know we are a start-up league but I think we can get this televised. Either a channel like versus that posts small sports or ESPN 3. Any channel is better than none.
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Sabonis
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« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2012, 06:21:12 AM »

I agree with all of the above. Since a few of the highlights have appeared on ESPN as it is, I don't think getting it on ESPN 3 would be a tough sell. Also, it was a nice gesture to make week 1-4 rebroadcasts free, but unless I'm crazy (and I very well may be), those links are broken... Sad
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pushpass
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2012, 07:55:07 PM »

- Rules and Refs -

I like most of the rule changes, and I like the inclusion of refs.  I'm going to have to disagree with you on yardage penalties though.  Distance just isn't as big a deal in ultimate as it is in say, American football.  Plus, marching off the penalties and setting back up looks weird as a spectator.  Sometimes the ref marks off the yards.  Sometimes the players do.  I don't entirely get it. 

I think they should handle fouls similar to basketball.  Players are allowed a number of fouls in a game (you could even make the number fairly low to create an incentive for players to play a clean game). Once they hit that number they foul out.  Game over.  I'd also be in favor of large yardage penalties against teams once they have exceeded a certain number of "team fouls" in a quarter, like 20-30 yards.  The advantage to this kind of system is that it would keep the game cleaner.  Plus, it will discourage "bruiser" tactics when a team gets close to the goal line.

-Publicity
 
Yeah, I'm not sure what is going on with the league's PR.  I get the feeling that there wasn't a cohesive business plan going into the first season.  I know teams are being marketed locally, but there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of push to get the word out.  I also think the cost/production quality of games is a serious problem.  For most of the US, the AUDL is whatever they see video of, and the video doesn't look particularly good.  Heck, when Brodie was on ESPN's top ten, the clip was from one of his cameras.....so ya. 

-Sustainability

The good side to not publicizing the league much is that marketing and publicity are usually expensive, so they have saved a lot of money in that area.  I don't know what "costs" the league really has to be honest.  In that way, it is pretty hard to see the league fold before the end of the season.  Sure, individual teams have to pay for stuff like travel (by bus) and venues (usually high school football fields), but i think there isn't a ton of cost right now in operating the league or the teams.  Most players aren't paid at all.  Heck, from the completely unsubstantiated rumors I've heard, Brodie Smith's only "pay" is that he got the team to cover his apartment in Indy, and they have pushed his superstar status on fans harder than anyone else in the league has been pushed.     

I think you are right to be nervous, but some people do seem to be attending games live, and I know I've paid for quite a lot of streaming.  I imagine a few other people have too.  My real concern is the overall attitude behind the scenes with this league.  Too many things have been strung together, seemingly at the last moment, out of yarn and strategically placed bubble gum.  The website, the game production/broadcasts, the promotion, the lack of outreach to the ultimate community at large, and a number of other things are cause for concern moving into future seasons. 

I'm not as concerned with short term viability.  I'm more concerned with the structure and whether the league can leverage its potential in a meaningful way.   
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