One of the world’s ultimate frisbee events could be held in Warren County in 2018 if recreational officials land the tournament.
The week-long World Flying Disc Federation championship, featuring up to 3,000 of the world’s best ultimate frisbee players, is projected to generate $1.5 million for the economy.
While landing the bid might seem like a long shot or a “huck” — language used in the sport — the area has hosted other major competitions, including the 2014 USA Ultimate D-I College Championships in Mason.
“We’re kind of taking it to the next level and going for the world championship this time,”said Ned Earley, a former player in the Cincinnati Ultimate Players Association (CUPA) and coach of three teams at Lebanon High School.
The event is expected to draw players from 38 or more countries and as many as 1,000 spectators, according to promoters. While in the area, they are expected to stay in hotels, eat at restaurants and visit sites such as the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Fairborn or Kings Island Amusement Park in Mason.
“It’s a big deal. It’s got a big following,” Lebanon City Manager Pat Clements said last week while briefing the city council on the need for a waiver on prohibition on the sale of alcohol so that a beer garden can be set up for events at the Lebanon Sports Complex. Other events would be at the Mason High School stadium.
“It’s an inherent part of this event,” Clements told the council.
Other countries have bid, but the local bid is the only American one, according to CUPA board member Peter Tran.
The deadline for bids, including proposed budgets, passed April 30. The bids are to be reviewed in anticipation of a decision by the end of August, according to Tran.
“The event hasn’t been in the United States in more than 20 years. USA Ultimate is looking to host the event for the first time,” said Ben Huffman, who handles sports marketing for the Warren County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Ultimate popularity growth
Ultimate was developed in 1968 by students at Columbia High School in Maplewood, N.J. Interest in the sport has grown in the U.S. and worldwide.
This year, Earley coaches three teams at Lebanon High that compete in a 36-team league. Ten years ago, 10 teams comprised the league, Earley said.
High schools in the Kettering, Centerville, Springboro and Lakota school districts also field teams, usually made up of 15 players, two seven-person lines and a substitute.
Players run and catch, often in games played simultaneously and side-by-side.
A long throw is a huck, the throw kicking off play for a new point is known as a ‘pull.’
But there are rarely referees, so teams settle disputes themselves, requiring knowledge of the rules and a flair for conflict resolution.
In addition to learning to toss the disc, players learn to talk through disputes, preparing them for challenges in the workplace or their personal lives.
“Those conflicts need to be worked out between people, not by a referee,” Earley said.
Aylee Cole, a student at Lebanon High, joined Lebanon Ultimate this year after starting out playing informally.
“I was actually playing in gym,” she said last week. “I signed up in the fall and I love it.”
Karina Woldt, event manager for the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF), declined to comment on the number or quality of of bidders.
“Unfortunately at this time all bid information and potential host information remains confidential. During the review process, WFDF does not identify where the bids are from. We anticipate to make an announcement on the host city in August 2016,” she said via email.