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New information about the American Ultimate Disc League’s Boston franchise – set to open next year – adds an additional wrinkle to the current legal dispute between the league and the Connecticut Constitution/Rhode Island Rampage.
The Boston territory is one (along with New York) that is being challenged by the CT and RI teams under their Territory Licensing Agreement barring new franchises within 100 miles of their own. The disagreement led to the League filing suit against those franchises.
Multiple team sources said that Boston has been sold to Brent Steepe, the owner of the Detroit Mechanix franchise as well as the Vice President of Marketing for the AUDL.
What has other teams fuming is how that came to pass.
In March, Josh Moore, the President of the AUDL, raised a team vote on the issue of whether or not to allow owners to have financial interests in multiple teams. “That vote ended up in a 4-4 tie with Mr. Steepe voting to approve,” said Bryan Ricci, Owner of the Connecticut Constitution. “The tiebreaker [in favor] was submitted by the President.” Other team sources confirmed this account.
However, Moore had provisionally sold the Boston territory to Steepe months before, sources said. That was never explained to the teams prior to the vote. “Steepe should not have even voted and the league should have made us all aware that the territory was already sold,” said Ricci.
The bylaws of the League do not require voting members to recuse themselves in situations where they may have a conflict of interest.
Steepe’s dual role as a league official and team owner – particularly of the Boston franchise – complicates the legal situation. Boston has a strong Ultimate community and is an obvious location for expansion. Now the league not only has an interest in ensuring Boston becomes a franchise to improve the league itself but has also a long-term financial incentive through Steepe’s ownership.
Steepe has not responded to multiple requests for comment.
Photo via Detroit Mechanix.
Disclosure: My friend and college roommate Husayn Carnegie plays for the Constitution.
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