Major League Ultimate was formed out of a long held belief in the bright future of ultimate frisbee. Those of us who gathered together to start this league know that ultimate is played by too many amazing athletes, features too many dramatic moments and produces too many incredible highlights to find itself on the sideline of spectator sports. We understand the potential of the game and know that ultimate, properly presented, can be the next sport to grab the attention of the world.
The league finds its direct origins in the experience of the 2012 Philadelphia Spinners and their coach and GM, Jeff Snader. The Spinners demonstrated the viability of professional ultimate through the commitment of their fans, the excitement of their games and their engagement of those outside of the existing ultimate community. However, they found themselves hemmed-in and held back by the situation in which they played. Jeff was forced, as the leader of the team, to find a new direction in which to take this promising beginning.
And so the MLU was born. Jeff pulled together a core group of individuals that shared his vision for the sport, and together they established a space in which professional ultimate can grow and flourish.
The MLU consists of 8 teams in 2 divisions. The Eastern Conference is home to the Boston Whitecaps, New York Rumble, Philadelphia Spinners and Washington D.C. Current, while the Western Conference features the San Francisco Dogfish, Portland Stags, Seattle Rainmakers and Vancouver Nighthawks.
Each of these team locations was chosen based on their population, existing sports culture, relative distance from other franchises and existing Ultimate community. When considering the Ultimate community of a city, the youth scene was given particular attention as a developed youth program is a sure sign of future growth.
The 2013 Season
Our inaugural season began on April 20, 2013 and consisted of 40 regular season matches, two playoff matches, and the 2013 MLU Championship game. Regular season matches in the first season were played within the conference over a 10 week season. On July 13, the postseason pit the Eastern and Western Conference champions — the Boston Whitecaps and the San Francisco Dogfish — against each other in the MLU Championship game at Franklin Field in Philadelphia. With a 20-15 win over the Dogfish, the Boston Whitecaps became the first MLU team to achieve a perfect season (12-0) and the champions of Major League Ultimate’s first season.
The 2014 Season
Season Two began on April 12 and concluded with the MLU Championship on July 19. Comprised of the same 8 teams in 2 divisions, the regular season spanned 11 weeks allowing for rainouts and other schedule issues. This second season was bigger and better, complete with the best ultimate talent in the nation, improved fan experiences, updated stadiums, comprehensive game coverage and new sponsors. On June 28, the four playoff teams competed for the Eastern and Western Conference titles. On the East Coast, the D.C. Current defeated the 2013 MLU Champion Boston Whitecaps, 18-17, while on the West Coast, the Vancouver Nighthawks defeated the Portland Stags, 14-13. On July 19 at PPL Park in Philadelphia in front of over 2,500 fans, the D.C. Current became the second MLU Champions with a 23-17 win over the Vancouver Nighthawks.
We have built our league with the understanding that strong partners will be a key to our success. Partnership opportunities are available throughout the MLU and can include league-wide, team-focused, event-specific and player-based opportunities. We have developed a number of specific integrated packages and are flexible enough to develop new solutions beneficial to our partners and our sport.