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AUDL President Talks About 2013 Season, Spinners, Major League Ultimate

by in News with 7 Comments

The logo for the American Ultimate Disc League.Last week, bombshell news hit the ultimate world: the Philadelphia Spinners announced their departure from the American Ultimate Disc League and signaled plans to start Major League Ultimate, a new rival professional league. The recent buzz leaves big questions about the AUDL and its plans for Philadelphia, the 2013 season, and competing with MLU.

Josh Moore, the President of the AUDL, spoke to Ultiworld today about those issues.

Operationally, Moore says there will be no changes. “Our plans for 2013 have been set for quite sometime and we’re gonna follow through with those,” he said. “We’re gonna have 12 teams next year.” The league recently announced its 2013 expansion teams, which includes a team in the disputed New York territory, but not Boston. Moore said there will be a new team in Philadelphia to replace the Spinners, although they are “not looking to announce the details quite yet.”

Moore said that Spinners decision to leave the league was not a surprise. “It had been hinted for a couple months,” he said. “In hindsight it was really clear that [Spinners' owner] Jeff Snader was working on this for a long time.” In June, Snader, threatening legal action over the league’s establishment of New York and New Jersey territories for violating the Spinners’ Territory License Agreement, agreed not to pursue those legal options contingent on Moore allowing the organization to become a “free agent” after the season.

“We became aware that the league had breached our contract and we got on the phone and worked out an agreement,” said Snader. “Now we’ve done that and moved on.” That agreement allowed Snader to leave the league, but maintain ownership of the Spinners’ name and logo moving forward with MLU. It also included a cash payment.

“We were hoping to find a way for the Spinners to be in the league next season, but that wasn’t a conversation they were willing to have,” said Moore. He added that the “free agent” agreement was not something he regrets signing.

The AUDL plans to move forward into 2014 with a national league in mind, adding teams in both the west and the south. The MLU has already announced its plan to be a “bi-coastal league” in its 2013 inaugural season.

The AUDL reports having sold franchises in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, San Jose, Denver, Austin, Charlotte, Jacksonville, and Orlando for the 2014 season. They expect to have over 30 teams by the time the season begins.

When asked if competition between the two leagues could hurt the AUDL, Moore said, ” Yea, that would be a concern and I imagine for the MLU as well. There’s no doubt that they’re going to have smaller attendance than if they had the market to themselves… There will certainly be competition for players and fans. That’s only natural when you’re selling a similar product.”

But Moore thinks the wait to expand to become a national league is important. “Having a solid group for years one and two allows us to really refine the product before we roll it out to a national audience,” he said. However, he noted, the announcement of the MLU does create a “sense of urgency.”

But he pointed at the Spinners and the Indianapolis Alleycats as a sign that they are on the right track. “The AUDL proved we can develop successful teams in good markets…,” he said. “Despite some of the issues between the league and the teams, it does show that the AUDL model can work and build successful teams.”

“Our focus is making sure we’re operating at the highest level that we can,” he added. “And we’ll work to make ourselves a better league…We learned a lot of things from year one that we can improve for year two…We’re going to have a good model in place that will be very favorable for the AUDL.”

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About Charlie Eisenhood

Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email (charlie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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  • Mitch

    The AUDL hasn’t shown that it can build successful teams, provided that success is defined as some sort of profitability.

    I would imagine one particularly bad idea is Josh Moore admitting that the league violated the territorial part of the contracts with the spinners. That pretty much shows that his lawsuit against the teams is invalid and their right to the territories owned is valid. Unless of course he has additional signed agreements to the contrary, which I would imagine he would have produced long ago.

    Would love to see pro ultimate succeed nonetheless.

  • Guest

    Mitch – that quote was from jeff snader, not josh.

  • Mitch

    I know it was from Jeff. He’s speaking of an agreement between Moore and himself. Moore coming to an agreement with a team regarding the territory agreement (100 mi radius) shows he, Moore, believes that part of the contract is valid (that part he, himself, wrote). That doesn’t bode well for his lawsuit that is entirely based on that very same part of the contract being invalid for other teams, nor does it bode well for his ability to sell into the NY and Boston markets.

  • Bob

    I don’t see a non-spinner philadelphia AUDL team taking off… who is going to play for them? Everyone who wants to play “pro” ultimate is going to try out for the MLU, so all the best players will be on the Spinners. Of the ones that get cut, I doubt many are going to say “well shucks, I got cut by the Spinners, I guess I’ll go play in the AUDL” and those that do will likely be mediocre college players and low level club guys. If they can field a team it will probably be pretty terrible. Worse than Buffalo for sure.

  • Bob

    Which is not to say that Philadelphia *couldn’t* field a second competitive team, I think they could, there are probably enough good players, but it won’t happen. The best players that aren’t on the Spinners will stick to club/not involving themselves in an AUDL trainwreck.

  • dennis

    I think it’s clear that “best players” isn’t what you need for a successful franchise. What you need to good infrastructure, logistics, advertising, etc etc.

  • Anonymous

    Seems like Josh Moore is taking credit for the success of both the Philly and Indy teams. Does that mean he also takes responsibility for the low performing teams?

    The four top AUDL teams for attendance were Indy, CT, Columbus, Philly; only Indy is left in the league. The remaining teams in the AUDL – Detoit, Buffalo (now Rochester) and KY; all had attendance of less then 100 fans at their home games. I think this says something.

    Just because the AUDL gets another Philly team does not mean that it will be as successful as the Spinners. It is too bad that Josh was so willing to sign away on the Spinners, he should have contracted them to stay on at least for another 2 seasons.

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