If you’ve never played or watched a game of Ultimate, do yourself a favor and find a team or organization near you. Ultimate takes the non-stop pace of soccer, combines it with the aerial passing of football, and replaces the ball with a flying disc.
It’s an exciting, fast-moving sport. It’s also one of the fastest growing participation sports in the country. It’s played by nearly five million participants, membership in the sport’s governing body has grown at a near 10% annual pace since the early 2000s, and, in 2012, the first professional league was launched. Now, with 21 teams spread across the U.S. and Canada, the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) is starting its eighth season of professional play.
The AUDL teams engage with more than ten thousand fans per game through a combination of their live events, AUDL.tv streaming service, AUDL Game of the Week on Stadium, and AUDL smartphone apps. What’s more, the league commands a social media base of nearly a half-million followers.
But the big news for the AUDL this season is Highfive becoming the league’s official communications partner. Well, it’s big to us because the AUDL will now use Highfive video conferencing for collaboration and communication between their 21 teams, for their operational needs, and with external partners and vendors. The league’s owners, partners, coaches, and players will now have access to faster, easier meetings for more effective and frequent collaboration. Now that’s teamwork!
“Our regular communications range from four people to over 100,” said Rob Lloyd, AUDL co-founder. “The entire experience with video is more immersive. We have a community of around 40 team owners and I think the biggest opportunity for the league is improving engagement. We all know that hanging on a phone call, without being able to see the person who is leading a discussion, getting a real sense for their passion about a topic, does not create the best outcome.”
Beyond meetings, the AUDL is making Highfive a crucial component of their first-ever All-Star Game, to be held on June 8 at Breese Stevens Field in downtown Madison, WI. A pool of 32 AUDL players will be selected by coaches and media, and the AUDL plans to use Highfive as a way to bring fans into the process.
“The All-Star Game team selection process will be live streamed so fans can feel the reactions and see the player’s faces when they get the call,” said Lloyd. “We are using Highfive as an integral part of the fan experience, because a live video conversation is so much more compelling than a photo or a phone call.”
As a league sponsor, Highfive will also be featured during live events, “Game of the Week” broadcasts on Stadium, across all AUDL digital and social media assets, including the new Highfive Skies of the Week recap video. This will highlight Highfive’s innovative and easy-to-use in-room video conferencing solutions to the sport’s growing legions of fans, players, families, and teams. And, it will help support the hard play of the AUDL athletes and the sport’s unique approach.
Different is Better
Highfive is different because we’ve reimagined meetings, how video conferencing is delivered, and the ease of which workers can start, join, participate, and collaborate during meetings. We’ve changed the technology, changed the pricing model, and changed the expectation of how video conferencing should work.
Ultimate is similar in that it is different from typical sports, with club rules based on integrity and self-officiating. There is no contact, players call their own fouls, and respecting the “spirit of the game” is baked into the game itself. It makes for more exciting play, a more involved and participatory sport, and a focus on fun.
In professional ultimate, referees were introduced to speed up play and help new fans understand the rules. But that spirit still includes a high expectation of sportsmanship, where the responsibility of fair play falls on the players themselves. In fact, by invoking the Integrity Rule, AUDL players can overturn a call made by the referee in their favor if they dont feel a foul occurred.
Compared with today’s most popular team sports, Ultimate is decidedly different. That’s why we chose to partner with AUDL. We’re not only promoting Highfive to their players and fans, we’re helping them build a stronger, more connected organization as they champion Ultimate’s approach to improved collaboration and sportsmanship.
“Professional Ultimate continues to grow rapidly due to its low-concussive nature, high level of integrity, and the hard work of our athletes who generate so many exciting plays every weekend,” said Steve Hall, AUDL President, CEO and Commissioner, in a recent press release. “With 21 teams playing across the US and Canada, the AUDL needs an easy and effective way to collaborate with our team owners, officials, players, and partners. We are proud that AUDL is now using Highfive’s premium conference room solutions for our internal and external meetings.”
Ultimate Competition Needs the Ultimate in Video Conferencing
Ultimate is a fast and highly athletic sport, with each game generating exciting catches and defensive plays that regularly appear on ESPN’s SportsCenter Top 10, FS1, Bleacher Report, SB Nation, Stadium and other leading sports channels.
The AUDL is helping to increase fan exposure to this early stage professional sport by creating fun, family friendly events that showcase the sport being played at its highest level. Now, with easy to use video conferencing from Highfive, they can put more focus on continuing Ultimate’s rapid growth across North America.
“We are very excited to add the AUDL to our growing list of customers who want smart, simple and affordable conferencing solutions that adjust to how and where they want to work,” said Joe Manuele, CEO of Highfive. “The exciting Ultimate action results from the hard play of the AUDL athletes, while Highfive is working to make video conferencing easier and ubiquitous. With just a single click from any meeting room or device, the AUDL and its 21 teams can get their best work done with Highfive.”
Catch Highfive at an Ultimate Game Near You
From Toronto to Seattle, Tampa to Los Angeles, and Ottawa to Pittsburgh, AUDL’s 21 teams are spread across North America. The 2019 season began on April 5 and runs through the final-four format Championship Weekend VIII, which will be hosted on August 10th and 11th at the home field of the San Jose Spiders in Los Altos, CA. Tickets start at just a few bucks per person and games take place every weekend throughout the season.
To learn more about Ultimate and the AUDL, head to a game or visit TheAUDL.com.