U.S. Open Marks First Major Event of 2016 Triple Crown Tour

Posted: June 20, 2016 12:42 PM
Colorado Springs, Colo. (June 20, 2016)—With the first leg of the 2016 Triple Crown Tour less than two weeks away, the schedule for the fifth-annual U.S. Open Championships was revealed last week. 

Scheduled for July 1-4 at the University of Rhode Island, this year’s edition will again feature the nation’s top Pro Flight teams, including all 12 semifinalists from last year’s National Championships, and several international squads from Canada, Colombia and Panama. Live coverage will again be provided by both Ultiworld and ESPN, who will stream four semifinal matchups and the three championship games on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN mobile app.

The U.S. Open marks the first of five major regular season events, which also include the Elite-Select Flight Challenge (July 9-10 in Columbus, Ohio), the Pro-Elite Flight Challenge (July 30-31 in Aurora, Colo.), the Select Flight Invite (Aug. 13-14 in Westfield, Ind.) and the Pro Flight Finale (Aug. 20-21 in Vancouver, Wash.). 

Following the regular season, the 600+ men’s, mixed and women’s teams that compete in the Triple Crown Tour will enter the postseason championship series – including Sectionals (Aug. 27-28) and Regionals (Sept. 10-11) – in order to earn one of the 48 qualifying spots for the season-ending National Championships in Rockford, Ill. (Sept. 29-Oct. 2).

And even though the opening pull of the 2016 U.S. Open is still 11 days away, it’s not too early to take a sneak peek into what the 2017 Triple Crown Tour might look like. 

Planning for 2017 has been underway, led by USA Ultimate staff, with the board of directors, national volunteers, elected athlete representatives, WFDF, event organizers, broadcast partners and others. Recently, two surveys were distributed to Triple Crown Tour participants designed to gather information and help inform decisions about future seasons.

One of the surveys, distributed last winter, helped USA Ultimate to make a determination on the overall timing of the Triple Crown Tour. (A lengthy and detailed news release describing that decision, along with more context on why a shift of the season was being considered, was published last February.) And while there is no significant shift planned in the overall timing of the Triple Crown Tour itself (it will still run from early June through October), a second survey issued in the spring provided some additional feedback which is helping to shape decisions about the timing of individual Triple Crown Tour events.

Most notably, the U.S. Open is expected to move from its traditional Fourth of July weekend – the weekend it has occupied since its inception in 2012. Currently, USA Ultimate is exploring various options ranging from the following weekend through mid-August with an announcement about dates and location expected soon.

Potential adjustments to the other Triple Crown Tour events – The Pro Flight Finale, Pro-Elite Challenge, Elite-Select Challenge and the Select Flight invite – are also being reviewed, as are flight participation requirements, the event bid process and site selection criteria.

The goal of these adjustments is to achieve the best possible outcome while taking into account the preferences of USA Ultimate’s membership, organizational goals relative to the latest strategic plan and its mission and vision, as well as overall growth goals for the sport of ultimate and the desires of teams and athletes to have a meaningful, fair and accessible competitive structure.

Have any questions or comments? We welcome community feedback and discussion made in a respectful manner. Please refrain from profanity or personal attacks, as such public comments negatively reflect on our sport and community.