This document was the original vision for Wednesday Night Ultimate which turned into Thursday Night Ultimate and then the Atlantic Coast Showcase. About 75% of the vision was achieved to at least some degree.
This working document is a vision for what the Thursday Night Ultimate (TNU) event will look like for the inaugural season in 2018. The general idea is for the NC State men’s and women’s teams to play doubleheader games on Thursday Nights at Method Rd, starting February 22nd. This is very much a working document: it’s an initial vision of what the event will look like that will be circulated for comments and feedback. There will undoubtedly be many changes.
The preliminary schedule would be as follows:
Thursday, February 22nd — soft opening against Duke. Work out all the bugs.
Thursday, March 1st : UNCW (spring break starts that weekend for UNCW).
Thursday, March 15th: UVA / VT or USC. Or the UNCC men and a different women’s team.
Thursday, March 22nd — play UNC Pleiades / Darkside. Possibly at Dail Stadium if that’s available at a reasonable cost. (UNC back from spring break 3/18)
Each game night would start with women’s pull at 6:00pm. Gates would open at 5:30pm with food available in a picnic format (see below) for fans.
Men’s game pull would be approximately 7:45. Final point should be before 9:30pm. Halftimes would be 5-minutes and there would be several rule changes to accelerate the pace of play (see below).
After completion of the men’s game, teams would walk to Wicked Taco on Western Blvd for dinner before driving home. Game highlights would be broadcast on the restaurant TV while teams eat dinner.
Each game will have a Play of the Game that we’ll promote through social media, etc, and we’ll give the players involved some kind of prize at this dinner.
The game would take place on the lower field at Method Rd. Existing bleachers would be augmented through new bleachers, or temporary bleachers moved from other locations on campus. Ideally, there would be sitting available for 75-100 people. The rest of the crowd can sit on the hill or stand around the field. Our target would be a crowd of 400 or more.
The main camera (the JinxCam) would be elevated at mid-field and shoot across the field with the bleachers in the background. Club sports have installed a set of scoreboards at the fields that we can use and periodically film.
Behind the fans and behind each end zone, would be a series of 10′ x 8′ mesh banners with sponsorship advertisements. These will block the view of the road and the adjoining field from the cameras covering the game and these banners will be sold to sponsors.
A portable PA system will play music before the game, but also the JinxCam will control a series of musical warnings and team themes that indicate the time before pulls, timeouts, end of halftime, etc.
The broadcast would be at least a 3 camera shoot, with one camera at midfield, and then one camera at the corner of each end zone. In addition, there could be another 1 or 2 cameras (or even cell phones) filming coaches, players and crowd reactions.
The final configuration of the broadcast setup and equipment could go several different directions and is a work in progress. Could include participation by PackTV or Stream Sports. Could be the team does 100% of it ourselves. There are opportunities to use some new cameras and technologies in a low budget environment, and we’ll look to approach several video companies for sponsorship.
The field will be wired with a separate high-speed ethernet/wifi network that will allow multiple cameras to send video back to a central video switch, which could be the existing JinxCam software.
The broadcast will have commentary, and I’ve had preliminary conversations with Charlie Eisenhood about using Tad and Pat from Sin The Fields. The plan is for remote audio, so the commentators could be located anywhere. Being remote, might be able to get Evan Lepler to do games as well. Taylor Pope has experience doing commentary, and if we do it locally he’d be ideal.
TNU’s lead sponsors will be USA Ultimate and Ultiworld. We will count on them to assist in promoting the live broadcasts to college ultimate fans. There has never been a comparable event in college ultimate to TNU, so it is difficult to gauge what viewership is likely to be for the games. Broadcasts will be both via Facebook Live and Youtube. Personally, assuming we achieve the production levels I’m anticipating, I’ll be disappointed if we have less than 1000 live viewers for the games. Hopefully much more.
In addition to these lead sponsors, we’ll approach dozens of local and national companies for sponsorship, including NC State. Finally, we’ll have a series of sponsors we’ll organize swaps with — locked in sponsors including Lucid Travel and Savage Ultimate.
Up until the creation of TNU, there has been no college ultimate event for a local or national company to sponsor outside of College Nationals. And USA Ultimate has had long-standing problems in the areas of sales and promotions. There are probably 40 or more different companies (Personify, The Select Group, eTicket, PrecisionHawk, Republic Wireless, Sidearm Sports, New Tek, Citrix, Food Lion, American Giant, Nvidia, Tesla, IHOP, Carolina Coastal Credit Union, etc) that have a presence locally I’d like to approach for sponsorship. The most basic form of sponsorship would be purchasing a 10′ x 8′ mesh banner and an advert on the broadcast.
The men’s and women’s teams, working with Triangle Ultimate (and possibly ERIC — I’ve worked with the founder, Jim Gerencser, in the past), will host a series of youth clinics in and around the Method Rd field. We can have youth events at the field or the local community center. There are nearby churches and the Islamic Center of Raleigh might all have opportunities for team members to run youth clinics. I’ve done some clinics with Shira Viel, and she said she’d be interested in helping run programs with players at the Method Rd Community Center.
Through these clinics we’ll reach out to parents in the neighborhood and see if we can’t combine our games with a community picnic and get together. Possibly Food Lion can assist in donating food for picnics?
In addition to social media promotion through UltiWorld and USA Ultimate, we’ll work with Savage and Discraft to promote the event through social media. We’ll compile a list of the 20 largest disc organizations in the US, (Seattle, BUDA, AFDF, TU, etc.) and ask them to promote the events via social media and email. TNU will initially be a completely unique event, and we’ll want every ultimate player in the country to be aware that they can watch top-ranked college teams with good video production, on a Thursday Night.
We may try and work with the AUDL as well, but we’ll have to discuss that with USAU.
Local promotion will focus on getting ultimate players (and x-players) from the Triangle to the game along with NC State students. With a 6:00 pull for the women’s game, I’d like to combine watching the game with food. Maybe work with the local community in having a potluck that includes inexpensive food (Ruckus pizza?) as well. We’ll give away coupons for food (pizza, slices of cakes shaped like frisbees, ice tea, etc) to students and other fans as an incentive to get them to the game.
Local promotion will also include targeting alumni organizations for NC State along with Triangle chapters of UNCW, UNC, Duke, or whoever else we play. For attracting fans to the games, we’ll get coupons not only to players, but to parents as well. For many players (and parents) this will be the first truly organized college game they’ll be able to invite friends to attend and watch.
The neighborhood around Method will be extensively targeted (see community outreach, below) and we’ll get material out to the community center, churches, mosque, etc. in that direct neighborhood. It could be promoted as a community picnic with a frisbee game.
Tickets to the game will cost $10 (two for $15), but kids (<18) will get in for free, as will students. There will be many coupons for free food to be given away. I worked out a deal with Mata Energy Drinks for the US Open, and I’ll try and do that again for this event.
Tickets and coupons will include pictures of players from each team on them, along with the date, making them “collectibles”.
Our goal is to have two games played in approximately 3:30 hours. To accomplish this we’ll play under slightly modified rules, including 5-minutes halftime, 5-minutes between games, hard cap at 1:35 (high score +1), 70-seconds between pulls, 70-second timeouts, and 1 timeout + a floater. Many of these rules have already been accepted and used by USAU, WFDF or others for running tournaments.
We’ll have a handout that includes a basic set of the rules (and a coupon!) to hand out to fans.
The game will have Observers, and we’ll work with Brandon Jones, Bill Bourret, and Mitch Dengler.
The games will be sanctioned by USA Ultimate and count in the college standings. We want teams to bring their strongest squads, and with over 5 months notice, players from visiting teams should all be available. With the exception of UNC and UNC-W men, and UVA women, this will be the most professional broadcast any of the players have ever appeared on.