November 29, 2018 by Charlie Eisenhood in News with 0 comments
After ratifying a new commissioner, the American Ultimate Disc League has already made some structural changes for the 2019 season.
After years of consideration, the league is adding an all-star game, which will include a bye week for every team, following the lead of the major professional sports.
28 players will be selected as All-Stars — seven from each of the four divisions. Every team will be represented, and players will be selected by a combination of players, coaches, media, and fans, though the league has not yet determined the specific process for player selection.
“An all-star game is a unique opportunity to get all the top players in the league in one spot,” said AUDL Vice President of Marketing Tim DeByl. “And one of the main goals of the league going forward is to shine a spotlight on players and support more player development.”
The game is set to be hosted in either Madison or Montreal, the homes of the last two Championship Weekends and the league’s most robust markets. Like for Championship Weekend, the league will pay for players’ travel and expenses. The considerable cost of the event has been the roadblock to an all-star game in years past, but the league is now confident that it can draw a large enough crowd to support the event.
Taking a page from the NBA, the rosters for the two teams will be determined by a draft by players selected as team captains. The draft order will be publicly available. Since the game will be broadcast as a Game of the Week on Stadium, the league’s primary media partner, the draft may even be televised. To encourage team camaraderie, the league is even considering getting each team its own rental house to stay in for the weekend, rather than putting players up in hotels.
Specifics about the game and the All-Star Weekend are still scarce, but DeByl said that there is also the possibility of including experimental rules as a way to test them in live game play.
As a result of that week off from regular season play and feedback from teams, the 2019 season is being shortened to 12 games from 14. The change eliminates a road trip for every team and provides more breathing room for putting together a season.
“If we’re going to take away a prime week of scheduling, we had to give something back a little bit,” said DeByl.
Many AUDL owners have been pushing for a reduced season schedule, particularly in the West Division, which this season will feature just four teams after the San Francisco franchise shut its doors. 12 games means that each team will play a pair of home and away games with each of its three opponents, rather than requiring an imbalanced schedule with an extra road trip (particularly costly in a Division where teams mostly have to fly to their away games).
The 2019 AUDL season begins on Saturday, April 6th.