Dynamic Scoring: Building on AUDL’s Superior Entertainment Value, by Official AUDL Reporter Andrew Lewis
Club Ultimate frisbee is widely touted as the pinnacle of the sport by Ultimate players at all levels. It’s also the pinnacle of BORING! With a metagame centered around running dominator, offense and clean holds reign supreme, leaving the number of offensive possessions as the factor most indicative of the outcome by a disproportionate margin. Though college Ultimate suffers from a similar problem, the higher turnover rates in the college game spares the sport’s entertainment value from suffering too much from essentially the same metagame.
For better or for worse, the onfield product of the AUDL is benefitted by the league’s ulterior motive of driving a profit. Larger fields, a game clock, and double teaming all lead to more big plays that are easier to digest and disseminate. The game clock in particular leads to more dynamic defensive looks, as teams will often throw a junk or zone to burn clock, or employ onside pulls in an attempt to disrupt offense and force a quicker turn if time is against them. It also leads to buzzer-beater type plays, where players might force throws they would otherwise holster in hopes of scoring before the clock runs out. The rule changes made for the AUDL leave room for more dynamic strategy, and as a result, a more interesting viewing experience.
One area where the AUDL lacks dimension, however, is in the scoring system. Just the same as in Club, the only way to score is to hit a receiver in the end zone for a value of 1 point. This means that unless the game is tied or within 1, the losing team faces a massive uphill battle, especially as the clock winds down. As a spectator, I am more drawn to a game when I feel like the losing team still has a chance, and adding another layer to the scoring system could inject this into AUDL games for a greater amount of time.
My proposal: add a 2 point line.
Under the current scoring system, a score on a 2 yard dish is worth the same as a 75 yard huck. Hucks have a fundamentally lower completion percentage than short-range throws, and I think that taking greater risks should come with higher rewards. When I see the AUDL now, I can relate to how spectators of basketball must have felt before the incorporation of a 3-point line. I am fully open to debating where exactly the line should be, but it shouldn’t be difficult to implement given that the game is played on football fields with clearly defined yard markers, and yardage penalties are already part of the game. I believe that adding this dimension to the scoring system will give teams a better chance to remain in games for longer, improving the late-game viewing experience.
The AUDL already has a leg up on other forms of Ultimate in terms of entertainment value, so why not continue to build on this? The big dogs WANT to slang the flatball around, and they want to slang it far. Why not reward them? And the next time someone tells you that Club is better, you can tell them they can keep their “elite”, “superior” snoozefest, and that you’re gonna watch AJ Merriman go up and get one.
Written by RingerThe.com’s senior AUDL correspondent, Andrew Lewis