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OUR BLOG

  • Utah Wild

2022 Year In Review

As 2022 winds to a close, we take a look back at the first full season of the Utah Wild and share with our community the work behind the scenes that made this team happen. While the players get the spotlight on the field, Utah Wild would not have happened without the support and involvement of our volunteers, community, and sponsors. This first annual year in review is intended to provide transparency on team activities and where we can grow in the year to come.


This year, Utah Wild received our nonprofit status from the IRS, which commits the organization to fulfilling our mission:

To advance visibility, equity, and high-quality competition for diverse women and nonbinary players within the sport of Ultimate. We work to connect with local communities and cultivate sustainable relationships to support the equitable growth of women’s sports within the Mountain West.

Professional Team Events

Of course the most visible activity of the team is our competition against other teams in the Western Ultimate League. In 2022, we brought on a roster of 27 players and 9 practice players from Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Colorado. As a regional team, preparation for the season took place over three team practice weekends and local pod practices. During the season, Utah Wild traveled to three away games, and hosted three home games and one away game during Wild Wild Weekend in April. Utah Wild fans showed up in force to eight watch parties in Salt Lake City, Provo, Boise, Bozeman and Denver, and our games in the 2022 season averaged about 4,000 online views. The season concluded with Shaela Wallen and Paige Kercher recognized as the WUL Defensive Player of the Year 1st Runner-up and Offensive Player of the Year 2nd Runner-up, respectively, and sending six players to the WUL Showcase Game in Colorado.


As we write this, we are thriving off of the energy of a freshly-selected 2023 slate of players, after running tryouts this November - we can't wait to announce and celebrate them soon! The Western Ultimate League has big things in store for 2023, as the addition of Colorado Alpenglow to the league is only the first exciting announcement you should expect! If you haven't already, consider donating to keep the WUL livestreams free and accessible to this coming season so no one has to miss a minute of the action!


Community Events

Beyond on-field play, Utah Wild aims to provide new playing opportunities for women and non-binary players and the whole ultimate community. Beginning with the Spring Mixed Goalty league in Salt Lake City, Utah Wild continued the momentum with Fall Women’s and Men’s Goalty League in Salt Lake City, Fall Mixed 4v4 league in Provo, pre-season mixers in Salt Lake City and Provo, and the 2nd Annual Pie Toss Hat Tournament. In addition to local community events, Utah Wild also ran Ski Town Classic, a staple of USAU Club competition which brought 38 teams from around the country across the women’s, mixed, and men’s divisions.


Outreach

A major focus of our mission is to “connect with local communities and cultivate sustainable relationships.” A key element of this is to engage with not only the ultimate community, but also other youth and community organizations. In 2022, Utah Wild:

Looking ahead, we will continue to deepen these relationships and share the sport of ultimate more broadly across Utah and the Mountain West.


Volunteers and Staff

Successfully running a season and these activities would not have happened without the countless hours and energy of Utah Wild players, coaches, staff, board, and community volunteers. In 2022, the Wild coaching staff consisted of a head coach, two assistant coaches, and a coaching intern. The team retained three paid staff to manage team and event logistics alongside the work of the five board members to plan and execute the season. Wild Wild Weekend involved 71 volunteers, in roles ranging from set up and take down, scanning tickets, selling merch, and commentating in the booth. Finally, we had 20 volunteers assist with running SkiTown Classic and keeping it the high-quality experience that players expect. We want to send a big THANK YOU to all of our volunteers and staff for helping us put on a successful inaugural season.


Sponsors and Budget

Finally, we want to provide you with a look into the financial picture for the team. All told, expenses for the 2022 season totaled just over $64,000, split across staff costs (13%), travel (30%), fundraising and outreach event hosting (39%) and business expenses (18%). Income totaled just over $72,000, with major categories including sponsorships (12%), ticket sales (7%), merchandise sales (12%), fundraising events (52%), and donations (17%). In particular we want to recognize our 2022 sponsors for their support:

  • Utah Sports Commission

  • Visit Salt Lake

  • Discraft

  • Breakmark

  • Strive & Uplift

  • Suja Juice

  • Fyzical Therapy & Balance Centers Midvale

  • RJ Performance Group

  • NeeBooFit

  • ExcelJet

  • All of the companies that donated items to our Silent Auction

Despite the health of our financial picture, we want to highlight that over half of our income came from fundraising events, which are labor intensive and require sustained volunteer effort throughout the calendar year. For the long term health of the team, our goal is to transition from one-time donations and individual fundraising events to more sustainable forms of revenue such as monthly, subscribed donations or large dollar donations as well as increased corporate sponsorships. Developing the relationships required to receive this level of funding takes time and effort, and any help you can provide to connect us with sponsors or advocate for us to potential funding sources is hugely helpful in sustaining the Utah Wild organization.


Looking Forward

Utah Wild had a highly successful 2022 season and we are aiming to build on that solid foundation as we look toward 2023. There are a few key opportunities where we could use additional support:


Finally, thank you, our fans and community for all your support in keeping the Wild afloat during the pandemic and through the first year of the league. The state of the team is strong, and we can’t wait for you to see what we have in store for 2023!

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