October 2, 2012 by Charlie Eisenhood in News with 2 comments
New information about the American Ultimate Disc League’s arrangement with the Philadelphia Spinners franchise to allow the formation of New York and New Jersey franchises, both of which fall within the 100 mile radius of Philly’s territory, could impact Rhode Island and Connecticut’s legal case against the league.
Emerson Kilgore, the owner of the Rhode Island Rampage, contacted Ultiworld with fourteen pages of emails and internal AUDL communications soon after his team was kicked out of the league.
One email in particular caught our attention. It was addressed from Josh Moore, the President of the AUDL, to Jeff Snader, Philadelphia’s owner and general manager. The message was sent June 7th, about two weeks before the league sued the Rampage and the Constitution, contending that their Territory License Agreement (which contains the 100-mile radius language) was “unenforceable and unreasonable.”
Snader had also expressed concern about new teams within his territory’s radius. He threatened to block their formation. Moore reached out with the offer below. Here is the email in its entirety.
[quote]Subject: Fwd: Expansion
From: Jeff Snader
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2012 12:32:03 -0400
To: Emerson Kilgore
Begin forwarded message:
From: Josh Moore
Date: June 6, 2012 10:03:02 PM EDT
To: Jeffrey Snader
Good evening Jeff, I hope all is well with you. I’ve been trying to figure out various solutions to many of the issues going around right now and have a thought for you. Part of your current season concern is the finances and getting us to the finish line. If you are willing to give some more consideration to allowing New York and New Jersey next season, I will give you all of the sale price the league received for these two teams. That amount was $2,500 each/$5,000 total. This could be used in the current season to help get us where we need to be and minimize some of the “disaster plans”and I could get this to you before your long road trip.
In addition, I think this will greatly enhance the value of your team for the 2013 season and thereafter. With your division of four being Washington DC, New Jersey, and New York, 6 of your 8 road trips will be very inexpensive and then you’d have just one “long” trip to say, Connecticut/Rhode Island. Financially we’ll all be sitting so much nicer next year with a focus on fewer costs, which proximity of the teams brings. Obviously I can’t afford to make this offer to everybody, but as these two teams are in the Philadelphia 100 mile radius, I wanted to see your thoughts. I hope this is something that can be considered so we can resolve some of the issues and continue to move the league forward. Thank you as always for your time.
This is the first time we have seen an explicit acknowledgment from the league of the legitimacy of a team claim to enforce their 100 mile radius. It could have legal importance for the Rampage and the Constitution in their battle against the AUDL.
Moore told Ultiworld that Snader, who joined the league months after the other first year owners, wasn’t privy to as much information because of that. “He may not have been aware that there were expansion teams in [New York and New Jersey] whereas the other teams did,” said Moore. Not wanting to jeopardize the work of establishing the new franchises and unable to prove that Snader originally knew about the new franchises, Moore offered a settlement.
When pressed on how Philadelphia’s situation is different from that of Rhode Island or Connecticut, Moore added, “The difference in this situation is that they waived their right to enforce [their 100 mile radius clause] when Bryan let Rhode Island have a team. And they were both working with the Boston owner before that fell through.”
Moore did say that he would have offered a similar deal to Rhode Island and Connecticut, but that the team owners were asking for “more than ten times” the amount he paid Philadelphia.
Snader told Ultiworld in July, “All 100 mile radiuses are not created equal. Philly is a tier one market, one of the biggest Ultimate markets in the country,” explaining that, although he isn’t thrilled about new teams opening up next door, he’s comfortable with it since “New Jersey is a tier two market” and “New York is a separate metro area…I don’t mind if those teams are there as long as I get something I want.”
However, he said, “Connecticut and Rhode Island are both tier two markets and they’re within 100 miles of tier one markets. It is a much scarier situation for them.” Their much higher asking price for a settlement shows just that.
Whether this will have an impact on the legal fight between the league and its two former teams won’t be known for months as the lawsuit drags through court.
Jeff Snader could not be reached for comment.