Around the World
Ultimate is played by thousands in over 90 countries and is constantly expanding its player base. Competitions take place at local, national and international level very regularly; in Europe there is a tournament taking place in various countries almost every week in 2014.
Tournaments last anywhere between 2 and 5 days; these may be outdoor (grass tournaments), beach tournaments or indoor tournaments. They range from the hot competition for the European Championships or World Ultimate Club Championships (affectionately, Worlds) to friendly, fun tournaments aimed at player interaction and development. The standard of fitness and stamina required to win any Ultimate Frisbee Tournament is very high – teams may play up to eight games over the course of a two day tournament, with each of these games lasting in excess of 75 minutes.
Clubs & Leagues
Depending on the country there may be Club Nationals, University/College Nationals and a Junior League. The USA has the world’s biggest player base and it is possible (although not too common) to gain Ultimate Scholarships to College. There are currently 11,000 members in the USA Youth Division and a staggering 14,000 students from 700 colleges in the college division. The Triple Crown tour is the highest level of competitive Ultimate in North America, comprising of three divisions: Men’s, Women’s and Mixed. Teams are then tiered as Pro, Elite, Select, or Classic. The regular season consists of a series of summer tournaments, including the U.S. Open Championship and Flight specific events. The post-season then narrows over 700 teams down to 16 in each division to compete for the National Championship. As of 2013 there are now two Professional Leagues in the States paying their players from ticket and merchandise sales, and sponsorship.
There are teams and competitions in more than 20 countries throughout Asia, from the expected venues such as Japan, to the, perhaps less thought-of, Philippines and Vietnam. There are a myriad of Hat Tournaments at a variety of destinations and for the hotter competition there’s the Malaysian Ultimate Open, and several WFDF sanctioned events which bring together some of the fastest players and most skilled throwers on the continent; such as the Asian-Oceanic Ultimate Championship (AOUC).
International competitions bring together the best Ultimate players and teams from all over the globe- there’s no greater pride than representing your country and Ultimate players will travel to all corners of the earth in their bids for glory. This makes for extremely intense and exciting events at all levels, right at the top each team raises their game to new heights every year in an attempt to gain the title of World Champions.
The World Games sees a phenomenal push from players all over the world (qualifying based on previous years’ WFDF World Championships)- be it simply to fund their way there (no mean feat), or to raise themselves above their rivals and secure a medal. The 2013 World Games in Columbia included, besides the host team, the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Japan and Australia- bringing some of the hottest games of Ultimate to a seriously hot country and drawing unprecedented crowds from around the world.
Charity & Frisbee
Frisbee charities are also having an international impact, like the well-known Ultimate Peace campaign, who promote friendship and understanding between young people living in conflict zones using the key values of Ultimate and Spirit Of The Game as their tools. Their first event began in 2009 bringing together 120 young people from various backgrounds in Israel and the West Bank; the success flourished and grew, forming, among other things, a Summer camp called Camp UP which reaches 300 young people in Israel- young people from a diverse range of religious and social backgrounds all running, catching, diving and scoring together. Camp UP and Ultimate Peace as a movement are growing, there is a young leadership program in place, a continuation of activities throughout the school year and an increasing number of prestigious partners too; all hoping to affect attitudes, forge friendships and shift the tide to a better future, not just in Israel and the Middle East but beyond.
See World Flying Disc Federation for details about global competitions.