Ultimate Frisbee history: Appearances on American TV
This post is part of the Best Ultimate Frisbee websites project
It’s not often that Ultimate Frisbee gets mentioned in the press or on TV. Most people are still hopelessly ignorant of one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Well, considering some of the other “fastest growing sports”, we are in some interesting company.
However, there is good news. According to this article on CNBC, Ultimate Frisbee saw a 20.8% increase in participation in 2008, good for #1 on the list. At least we know we’re kicking lacrosse’s butt, another sport claiming to be the “fastest growing sport.”
Now the question is: If Ultimate is growing so rapidly, why is no one paying attention?
That’s a good question. My take on the matter is that as a sport Ultimate is still very young. The vast majority of players are either current college students or recent grads with only a few years of working experience. So on the whole, the Ultimate Frisbee community doesn’t have that much pull in society when it comes to affecting change and making decisions. Unless you’re a mover and shaker, the media doesn’t really care how much you care about Ultimate.
However, the fact that almost all Ultimate players are college educated and ridiculously good looking means that they are heading up in the world. What will happen is that as more Ultimate players reach the upper levels of companies and organizations, our collective pull will cross the tipping point of wide recognition.
Until that day, we can scrap together bits and pieces of media coverage and give ourselves a pat on the back for being the stepping stones that helped Ultimate reach its peak.
1976 Frisbee World Championships
The earliest footage I’ve seen. The bit about Ultimate comes at the very end.
1978 National News
With Tom Brokaw! Guts looks fun, we should play it more.
1978 Special Edition
Watching this report, it sounds like Ultimate would have exploded in the 80’s. Oh well.
1989 ESPN Amazing games
A feature on Ultimate and the legendary NY/NY team of the era. I would be scared of Ken Dobyns if I played against them…
1991 MTV sports
“If something looks like it’s too far in front of you and you’ll never get to it you have a motorcycle, keep going!” Motorcycle Ultimate, now there’s an idea worth pursuing.
Bill Nye the Science Guy
Bill has been known to be an Ultimate supporter, and here he gives a physics lesson on how a Frisbee works.
2000 National Geographic
Coverage on the club nationals in Sarasota Fl.
“When I go to my grave … it’ll be as a frisbee player.”
The Disney Channel
I love how the kid thinks the Tomahawk (hammer) is only thrown by the “pros”.
ESPN cold pizza
Tony Leonardo and Adam Zagora go on the show to promote their book on Ultimate history.
ESPN Sports center
Sports center, we’ve made it to the big times!
ESPN cheap seats
More about freestyle Frisbee than Ultimate, but it’s worth a mention. Pretty funny.
It’s possible that Ultimate Frisbee may just skip the television age altogether and skip forward to the web 2.0 live streaming age. Seeing the reports of the UPA live streams of club nationals gives me great hope.
Let’s keep up the good work guys!