Florida Grid League announces a name change and new direction in the sport
To kick off the new year, we are announcing a new name. This article describes a bit of the history of the name, why the original vision of the sport is changing, and what this name change means for the direction of the sport.
Why “Florida” to begin with?
When the Florida Grid League ran it’s first full Season in 2017, it was a test.
Team leaders and prominent players from the NPGL still believed in the sport and felt it had not yet had a fair shot. The goal of the Florida Grid League was to prove the sport had legs under a completely different approach. Start small and grow sustainably. Let the sport shine.
That first year started with all matches taking place in gyms with an average attendance of about 40 spectators, no broadcast coverage, and only a couple thousand followers across all social media platforms.
Fast forward 6 years and the League now has 1.3 million followers across platforms, hundreds of millions of views of video content every year, almost half a million match broadcast views in 2023, and holds matches at major sports expos including Mr Olympia with tens of thousands of attendees.
The intention was always to allow the sport to grow into something well beyond Florida, however, the means by which HAS grown beyond Florida is different than originally envisioned.
The original goal was to prove out the regional model of the sport and grow a collection of regional Leagues. Hence, starting with Florida in the name made sense. While we did make some progress against this model originally, the 2020 pandemic shut these efforts down.
What did not shut down, was the organic growth of the sport.
What we have seen, time and time again, is that when this sport is played, the attention on it grows no matter what circumstance stands in the way.
Why the change now?
With the operations of the sport forced to halt due to the pandemic, a few things started to organically happen in the moment and the following years:
- Social media started to take off even without matches being broadcast. Past, short clips of the sport were enough to grab attention and build the brand.
- Attention from people everywhere started bringing players from outside of Florida. In 2023, over a third of all players in the League live outside of Florida and this percentage has grown each year. There have even been several players traveling internationally to play since inception.
- The compelling nature of the sport along with attention from everywhere has brought lots of interest in running Grid League events in other locations as well. To this date we’ve been contacted by 100+ event organizers about how to start a League (or teams) in their region. To our knowledge, at least two other Leagues have held events recently in Europe
- The strong success of the sport’s format within the application of sports expos has brought invitations to hold Grid League events at expos all over the country. We have accepted one of those invitations and will hold a full event outside of Florida for the first time in 2024.
- Of the sport’s total 2023 livestream viewership, only a fraction (11%) is from within Florida
- As of 2023, the majority of views of Grid League content are international. The demand for the sport not only extends well beyond Florida, but well beyond the US.
Thus, the role of the “Florida Grid League” in the growth of the sport has changed dramatically. It’s now the main entity of the sport rather than a regional portion of the whole. It has organically outgrown its name, and it’s time for a change.
Enter: the United Grid League
We have a mantra in this sport: We, all of the teams and the League, are all one big team. Team Grid League. Teamwork is a core value of the sport.
In addition, the sport of Grid League brings people from all walks of life together. It unites us. No sport does this better. That statement is true for many reasons, but none better than the fact no full team sport brings men and women together on the same team as this sport does.
So, here is to new beginnings and the next era of Grid League.
The United Grid League.
What changes are coming with the new name?
While there will be a few, let’s start with what is NOT changing:
- How we play the sport
- The general timeframe of the Grid League season starts with player acquisition next month.
- Our commitment to supporting our existing teams and players
- Our commitment to charter the next stage of growth of the sport.
What is changing:
- New branding including a new logo, tagline, uniform design, and apparel design.
- 2024 will mark the first year a full set of matches will be played outside of Florida. The Championship series and accompanying events will take place in October in Las Vegas Nevada as part of the Mr Olympia expo. Much more to come on the exciting details of this event so sign up to be kept in the loop.
- We will sunset the American Grid Association as the governing body for the “regional league” model we had begun before the pandemic
- For the first time ever, we will accept applications for new teams from other regions to join the League. There is no immediate need for new teams, but if the right partnerships arise we will explore expansion in 2024. If you are interested, apply here.
The future of Grid League
This sport has met every challenge you can imagine and it continues to grow despite them. There is something special about this sport. Those that have played or been involved in the sport already know this well. The broader community is learning quickly and growing.
We aren’t sure what path will lead to the next stage of Grid League, and it doesn’t really matter. The one thing we do know is that if this sport keeps being played, it will keep growing. So we are going to make sure that happens and hang on for the ride. Jump on with us.
Stay tuned for more exciting announcements coming soon.
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Article by League Staff
Articles by League Staff are generally informative about new initiatives, rules, and announcements related to the League.