November 28, 2012 by Charlie Eisenhood in Livewire, Opinion with 2 comments
Major League Lacrosse Commissioner David Gross thinks that professional Ultimate is a long-shot since the sport doesn’t have NCAA sanctioning, a major National Championship, and a built-in system to create stars and build storylines at the college level.
Commenters have rightly pointed out that Ultimate does have a National Championship and have highlighted the NexGen tour as a way to create stars. But is that enough?
It’s not good enough for the AUDL and MLU to get Ultimate players excited. Top minds in each league know that. So, while NexGen has certainly created some stars within the Ultimate community, could that really translate onto a national scene? Would ESPN cover NexGen?
Maybe. But the true excitement over college sports comes during regularly scheduled, regular season games. The race for the conference title can be just as exciting as the eventual National Championship. Rivalry games. Home and away.
This is not to say you need NCAA recognition to generate interest in a sport. Certainly Ultimate is one of the most popular college sports around — in terms of participation. But it’s not good enough to have Callahan chatter online for Ultimate junkies to build storylines. There would have to be more systematic media coverage to start to develop stars that could go on to draw thousands of fans to games.