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Mind The Gap
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TOPIC: Mind The Gap
#640
Mind The Gap 6 Years, 9 Months ago Karma: 1


It's another year for WUDI and another year of scrambling for last minute registrations. Turnover is a given in every league, but it's interesting to know what the major forces are behind this annual issue. The last few seasons WUDI has been able to just meet the required numbers for consistent attendance, but every year there are always new faces which tells you that new members are joining but an equal number of members are not returning. So what's in the gap?

In addition to the normal influencers (time, distance, money, hated my last team/captain, etc..) there are at least two new influencers this year. The first is the restructuring and retirement of the veteran status. How many males were lost to this change based on last year’s signups? Sure some males still signed up for open, but some vets I'm sure were not as willing. WUDI to the vets is almost more about community than it is about playing ultimate. It's who you are playing with, just as much as the overall quality of play. How many new males would sign up today if they could be slotted in coed? There may be 20 new males in coed, but did WUDI lose 15 vets and cannibalize open registrations in the process?

The other influencer is the emergence of the Randall's Island ultimate leagues. While not competing directly with WUDI, it does provide another place to play for members located closer to NYC and Long Island. WUDI is no longer the only decent game in town for the five boroughs.

Every year there is a new influx of members to WUDI. This year will be no different. Getting new registrations is always a goal for any league, but retaining members carries equal, if not more importance. Returning members is really a gage for any successful league. In past years it has really hinged on the Rec and Open leagues. The experience that members have in their first year is critical to their likelihood to return. It's that building of the community that is critical to WUDI. It's the reason why you had over 100 registrations within the first 24 hours of sign up. It's the reason why people are now willing to register for open if they can get their friends to form a CORE. People weren't averse to playing open, they were averse to playing open with over 60% new members all under the age of 23 as opposed to 90% vet members, all over the age of 23. The removal of Vet status will help blur that line, and hopefully result in a better overall experience for Open players.

As for new registrations it seems to come down to word of mouth, recruiting and advertising at the college level. You'll always get existing players that are new to the area but the largest target group, especially for rec, is first and second year college players and those new to the sport. Those rec players plus the more experienced college womens players then become your new coed womens players. Women tend to not stay in a sport as long as men, so it's important to retain as many first and second year players as possible.

Well that was much more long winded than intended.. bottom line, WUDI is a great place to play Ultimate, but it's up to the community to keep it that way. If you haven't signed up yet, do it now. It will be the most fun you have all summer and chances are you'll meet some great people along the way.
JamesVentura
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