Ultimate is one of the fastest growing sports in the world with over five million people playing in North America. Today, Omar Ansari, owner and founder of Surly Brewing Co., announced he is joining the global expansion of the sport through his purchase of the Minnesota Wind Chill, the state’s first and only professional American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) team. Ansari will be the majority owner and joined by minority shareholders Jim Mott, MVP and #4 employee, Surly Brewing Co. and Ben Feldman, general manager of the Wind Chill. The agreement was finalized in September.
“When I first met Ben and the Wind Chill team, I saw this spirit of collaboration and a drive to build something new and a little bit off-kilter. It reminded me of the early days of Surly,” said Ansari. “The Ultimate community is engaged and growing. I want to keep moving the sport forward not only through the AUDL but also by supporting youth and women’s Ultimate teams.”
“Surly Ultimate existed long before Surly Brewing,” said Mott. “I remember the beginning of the club teams, the friendly rivalry that was created through Ultimate and setting the tone for the ‘Spirit of the Game.’ It was all about the friendship and community, and it still is today. The Wind Chill and the AUDL are an exciting opportunity for me, and I can’t wait to help these guys get to the next level.”
“I’m extremely excited to have both Omar and Jim become a part of our organization. Their passion tied to the sport and our local Ultimate community is clear, and nothing pairs better with Ultimate in Minnesota than Surly beer,” said Feldman. “Omar and Surly Brewing Co. provides us with a great example of taking a personal passion and turning it into a successful business venture. I’m looking forward to working alongside him and Jim to make that very thing happen with our Minnesota Wind Chill franchise.”
Minnesota and the AUDL
The Wind Chill are one of six AUDL teams in the Midwest and 24 team across the United States and Canada. They joined the league in 2013, just one year after the AUDL’s inaugural season.
“We’re thrilled to have Omar and Jim joining the AUDL,” said Steve Gordon, AUDL Commissioner. “In addition to being passionate supporters of Ultimate and the AUDL, Surly Brewing Co. has shown remarkable success in the rapidly growing craft beer industry. Ultimate and the AUDL are currently experiencing a similar boom across the US and Canada. We see how their innovation and passion aligns with the sport and are excited for the future of the Wind Chill under their leadership.”
The Wind Chill ended the 2017 season 11 – 4 with a first-time spot in the playoffs where they fell to the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds. Contests last season were held at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn. and Sea Foam Stadium at the University of Concordia in St. Paul, Minn.