July 18, 2012 by Charlie Eisenhood in News with 5 comments
In a wide ranging discussion with Ultiworld today, Jeff Snader, the general manager, majority owner, and coach of the Philadelphia Spinners AUDL franchise, voiced his thoughts on the league, the current controversy, and the upcoming playoffs.
We spoke first about the current dispute between the league and the Connecticut and Rhode Island franchises. Snader called it “sad,” and drew a comparison with the league acting as the government with the owners as townspeople.
“We have people that protest all the time in society; we’re OK with that,” he said. “But if the government brings tanks down the street, they have too much power, we don’t like that. When the league filed that suit, it felt like the government rolling down the street with tanks. If you’re the first one to pull the trigger on the lawsuit, you’re the bad guy.”
“[The teams] getting a suit against them is ridiculous,” he added later. “If I side with anybody I side with the team owners.”
After confirming that Philadelphia did receive compensation for the New York and New Jersey franchises which fall within their contractually protected 100 mile radius (first reported by Ultiworld), Snader spoke at length about the difference between his team’s situation and the teams facing the lawsuit.
“All 100 mile radiuses are not created equal,” he said. “Philly is a tier one market, one of the biggest Ultimate markets in the country,” explaining that, although he isn’t thrilled about new teams opening up next door, he’s comfortable with it since “New Jersey is a tier two market” and “New York is a separate metro area…I don’t mind if those teams are there as long as I get something I want.”
However, he said, “Connecticut and Rhode Island are both tier two markets and they’re within 100 miles of tier one markets. It is a much scarier situation for them…If it was me, I would do the same thing they have done.”
He is also disappointed in the situation because of the playoff implications. “I still hope that we can work it out so that we [play the Connecticut Constitution],” who currently hold the second best record in the Eastern Conference, he said. “As a coach, you want to face the best competition. They have a fantastic owner, they have fantastic players. I want to play them.”
Philadelphia sits with the best record in the league — and, based on ticket sales, are the most successful franchise. They average about 650 fans at home games, which doesn’t account for the 1800 that showed up to their opening day.
Snader called his experience so far the greatest of his life when it comes to Ultimate. “This is so far beyond a business decision,” he remarked. “This is a passion decision.”
He is the only AUDL franchise owner that has played ultimate in the past. But he emphasized that “the other owners are good guys, really good people. They bought into this whole thing without knowing about ultimate, but now they really love it.”
He would not speak to what might happen after this season, just saying that “the boat has so many leaks, we need to see the attempts made to patch it” before he will comment.
The Spinners’ focus for now is on the playoffs, he said. “We just want to keep Ultimate growing…that’s what drives us.”
Philadelphia will host the Eastern Division Championship game on August 4th at 7 PM.