AUDL Commissioner Steve Hall talks growing Ultimate, why sports fans should come out for game

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The American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) is gearing up for the 2022 season, with three new expansion teams and a divisional realignment as Canadian teams come back into the fold.

The league is divided into four divisions, with teams spread out across North America. The divisional breakdown goes as followed:

East Division: Boston Glory, DC Breeze, Montreal Royal, New York Empire, Ottawa Outlaws, Philadelphia Phoenix and Toronto Rush.

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The inaugural home game for the Boston Glory against the Atlanta Hustle at Hormel Stadium in Medford, Massachusetts, on June 11, 2021.

The inaugural home game for the Boston Glory against the Atlanta Hustle at Hormel Stadium in Medford, Massachusetts, on June 11, 2021.
(Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Central Division: Chicago Union, Detroit Mechanix, Indianapolis AlleyCats, Madison Radicals, Minnesota Wind Chill and Pittsburgh Thunderbirds.

South Division: Atlanta Hustle, Austin Sol, Carolina Flyers, Dallas Legion and Tampa Bay Cannons.

West Division: Colorado Summit, Los Angeles Aviators, Oakland Spiders, Portland Nitro, Salt Lake Shred, San Diego Growlers and Seattle Cascades.

The Summit, Nitro and Shed enter the league as expansion teams.

The Flyers are the reigning AUDL champions. They defeated the Empire 19-16 in 2021 – the first year the league was back in action after having to postpone the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Steve Hall took over as the AUDL commissioner in 2018 after first coming into the league as owner of the Atlanta Hustle. He told Fox News Digital one of his main goals as commissioner was to apply his business acumen to the league to help it grow.

“If you go back and look at the ownership group in 2012, the owners were Ultimate enthusiasts. Not deep-pocketed, venture capital kind of guys,” Hall said. “What we have been transitioning (to) is bringing in people who have been successful business people. They understand how to run a business. They understand sports entertainment as a business. Slowly bringing in that kind of talent and deeper pockets into the league, that’s been a big transition.”

Hall is also the managing partner of EHF Capital LLC., and before that was the director of investor relations at Conversus Capital. He’s been a huge fan of Ultimate since the 1980s, having plated at Georgia Tech and is a member of USA Ultimate.

Toronto Rush players Ryan Keyfitz, left, and Sachin Raina run drills during a team practice.

Toronto Rush players Ryan Keyfitz, left, and Sachin Raina run drills during a team practice.
(Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

He’s been working to turn the hobby of Ultimate into a profitable business.

“It’s a business, not a hobby. It’s that kind of fiscal discipline. We are here, we are for profit and we are a full-time business. So making sure everybody understands that – and we are entertainment and we’re not an Ultimate business. We’re an entertainment business,” Hall told Fox News Digital. “You have to think about that holistically. It’s not just having a really cool game of Ultimate on the field, it’s everything that goes into the entertainment business.”

Hall said the approach is to make fans engaged in the sport rather than having them on their phone the entire time checking social media and other things.

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“We’re getting the owners to expand their understanding of entertainment and not just the athleticism on the field. But everything that goes into modern sports entertainment – gambling, the promo items, all the fun stuff going on, it’s expanding your mind around the definition of sports entertainment.”

The AUDL has 14 weeks in the regular season from April 29 to July 31, with the playoffs happening afterward.

With Major League Baseball in full swing and the NBA and NHL seasons winding down, Hall said there are a handful of reasons why sports fans should come out for the Ultimate day.

“No. 1, we are a fast-action sport. You get a lot of action in two hours. We’re not baseball. We’re not slow, plodding. Fast action, high-flying, so you have great athleticism, great plays, you’re outside which is nice – in today’s world that’s still important,” Hall told Fox News Digital.

Boston Glory takes on the Atlanta Hustle at Hormel Stadium in Medford, Massachusetts, on June 11, 2021.

Boston Glory takes on the Atlanta Hustle at Hormel Stadium in Medford, Massachusetts, on June 11, 2021.
(Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

“We’re going after the fans who, for a family of four or a group of four buddies, it’s $100 or less to go out for a game. You got to a [pro football] game you easily dropped $500-700, right? Easily. We want to make sure that we can have an affordable, family fun event. We think you ought to be able to have great entertainment outside for a hundred dollars or less for a group of four. And that’s what we’re going after. It’s very affordable, plus it’s fast action.”

Hall said the league is looking forward to their partnerships with Lsports Data in order for fans to be even more entertained from a gambling standpoint and AUDL games of the week will have a Spanish language broadcast as well.

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Ultimate fans can catch the premier game of the week on FOX Sports 2 and all games on AUDL.TV

Mojtaba Sadira

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