USA Ultimate announced today dates, locations, venues and ost organizations for its inaugural Triple Crown Tour regular season, set to launch this summer. The Triple Crown Tour, which represents the highest level of competitive Ultimate in the United States and features three divisions (Men’s, Women’s and Mixed), will visit some of the most passionate Ultimate communities across the nation.
“We are very excited to announce the host cities and dates for the first Triple Crown Tour,” commented USA Ultimate Chief Executive Officer Tom Crawford. “This brings to life what we have been describing to athletes, teams and the Ultimate community for months. We are psyched to work with the host cities and local Ultimate organizations, who are incredibly enthusiastic about the opportunity to host these events. We worked to not only select the best bids, but also achieve as much geographic diversity as possible by spreading the events out around the country.”
The 2013 Triple Crown Tour begins with the U.S. Open Ultimate Championships and Convention, July 4 in Raleigh, N.C. The second annual U.S. Open will feature a 24 team field comprised of 12 domestic and 12 international teams from around the world. Hosted by the Triangle Flying Disc Association and the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, the U.S. Open will take place at the WRAL Soccer Center, which includes a 3,000 seat stadium that will host the tournament’s showcase games.
USA Ultimate and the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) recently partnered together to support and promote the U.S. Open, which will again include a convention and industry gathering for the worldwide Ultimate community to network, learn and share ideas on a variety of topics.
As one of the hotbeds of Ultimate in the United States, the Triangle Area of North Carolina also serves as the home of Ring of Fire, a semifinalist team at last season’s National Championships whose captain, Josh Mullen, supported the local organizer’s bid to bring the international event to Raleigh.
“Ring of Fire is excited at the prospect of playing the best in the world in front of our hometown
friends and family members,” said Mullen.
On July 20 & 21, teams in USA Ultimate’s top two flights will square off in the Pro?Elite Flight Challenge with the Men’s and Women’s division competing in Atlanta and the Mixed division heading to Philadelphia.
The Atlanta Flying Disc Club will serve as the host organizing committee for the men’s and women’s tournament, scheduled to take place at the Georgia Soccer Park. The mixed competition will occur at the Lehigh County Sports Fields and is co-hosted by the Lehigh Valley SportsFest, the Philadelphia Area Disc Association and AMP, a mixed team in the Elite Flight.
The Elite Select Flight Challenge, which features teams in USA Ultimate’s second and third tiers, will take place on Aug. 10 & 11 in Boulder, Colo. (Men’s and Women’s). Co-hosted by local teams Johnny Bravo and Molly Brown, the tournament will take place at the Pleasant View Athletic Complex.
The location and venue for the Mixed division’s Elite Select Flight Challenge will be announced shortly.
The regular season then concludes Aug. 31 – Sept. 1 in the San Francisco Bay Area as the Pro Flight Finale takes center stage. Here, a total of 24 teams (eight per division) will position themselves for a run at the Postseason Championship Series. Hosted by the Bay Area Disc Association at the University of California-Davis, the Pro Flight Finale will see up to five local teams toe the line in their own backyard against America’s best Ultimate teams.
For several of the stops on the Triple Crown Tour, local organizing committees of existing, popular and well?established tournaments submitted bids and gave USA Ultimate the opportunity to plug into quality events. The overwhelming response to the bid process made the selection of Triple Crown Tour events difficult; however USA Ultimate and local organizing committees alike are pleased with the schedule.
“We are extremely excited to be hosting a portion of the Triple Crown Tour,” commented Ryan Farrell, captain of Boulder based Johnny Bravo, who co-organizes Colorado Cup. “We are looking forward to working closely with USA Ultimate to take our tournament to a new level both for our fans and our players. This year should be the best Colorado Cup yet. We are excited to welcome teams from across the country to Boulder, in particular those Select Flight teams that are chomping at the bit to take their game to the next level. I can’t wait to see which Select team breaks through and upsets a Nationals team from 2012.”
Like Johnny Bravo and Molly Brown with Colorado Cup, several teams in USA Ultimate’s Triple Crown Tour will serve as local event organizers and were integral in partnering with the national governing body to solidify their respective event’s status as a Triple Crown Tour event.
USA Ultimate is proud to align itself with other tournaments in the inaugural season, including Club Terminus (Atlanta), Philly Invite (Allentown, Pa.) and Labor Day (Davis, Calif.).
“We carefully designed the Triple Crown Tour to build on existing summer tournaments and mirror the traditional competitive schedule of teams at a variety of levels,” explained USA Ultimate Managing Director of Athlete and Competition Programs Will Deaver. “The season maintains many of the important aspects of the existing Club division structure, including the opportunity for teams from any city at any level to develop, compete and advance. And by formalizing components of the previously informal structure we are positioned to take the sport of Ultimate to another level of excitement and exposure. Both teams and event organizers will now have information about their seasons earlier than ever, which creates new opportunities to plan and improve. We look forward to being a part of that process and seeing the results on the field this summer.”
With the Triple Crown Tour regular season now confirmed, USA Ultimate will announce the date and location of the 2013 National Championships in the coming days.
“Now that the dates and locations are set for the regular season and an announcement related to Nationals is just around the corner, our focus will now turn towards finalizing and announcing our broadcast plans,” explained USA Ultimate Director of Marketing and Communications Andy Lee. “We anticipate making one very exciting announcement related to broadcast in the very near future, and are also accepting and reviewing bids to supplement and complement our national broadcast coverage with as much additional live streaming and digital content as possible in order to meet the primary goal in our new strategic plan.”