Summertime is just around the corner, and here in the ‘Burgh, we’re seriously spoiled when it comes to great sports teams – especially in summer! Seeing the Pirates, the Riverhounds, and even preseason Steelers games are a beloved part of any Yinzer’s summer.

Of course, sometimes those tickets can come with a big price tag, and if you’ve got a big crew of friends or a family of kiddos to entertain this summer, you’re probably looking for a way to get outside and enjoy an exciting afternoon of sports without breaking the bank. Thankfully, the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds have you covered!

Since 2015, the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds have played in Pittsburgh as our city’s premier Ultimate Frisbee (a.k.a. Disc) team – and yes, they’re professionals! The Thunderbirds are part of the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) and have just kicked off their first season playing at Highmark Stadium in Station Square, their biggest home venue to date.

As part of the AUDL’s Central Division, the Thunderbirds play 12 games per year against teams throughout the Midwest region, including the Madison Radicals, Chicago Union, Detroit Mechanics, Indianapolis AlleyCats, and Minnesota WindChill.

“Our mission is to grow interest in Ultimate Disc in the Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania regions, develop an elite team of athletes, encourage participation in the sport through community involvement, and provide fans with high entertainment for an excellent value,” says the team on their AUDL page. “We will work to improve the visibility of the sport in the region and promote youth participation in recreational and competitive environments.”

If you’ve never seen the pros play Ultimate, here are a few things you should know. First, Ultimate is similar to football or rugby in that one team must advance the disc to the opposing team’s end zone to score points, which should feel very familiar! Of course, one of the big differences is that you can’t run with the disc in your hands, so passing is key. Lastly, there are a variety of ways to play defense if your team doesn’t have possession, but one thing is for sure – defensive plays in Ultimate are some of the most fun to watch!

One of the best parts of the Thunderbirds experience is that it’s especially affordable for groups and families. General admission tickets often start at $10 and even for special event games are typically no more than $20. Mini packs of tickets are also available, which typically offer admission to three games for just $35.

(If you really fall in love with Ultimate Disc this season, you can even put your name down for season tickets next year!)

While the season has officially kicked off in April, if you haven’t had a chance to go yet you’re in luck – there are plenty of games to enjoy all summer long! If you’re looking for a particularly spicy game, check out the Thunderbirds’ next home on Saturday, May 27th. The Commonwealth Cup, as the name suggests, is a matchup between the Thunderbirds and their cross-state rivals, the Philadelphia Phoenix!

Lastly, don’t forget to gear up. Like all the best teams in the ‘Burgh, the Thunderbirds rep the black and gold, so you can snag gear online or in-person at home games to show off your team pride – t-shirts, athletic gear, a comfy seat cushion, bobbleheads, or even your own Ultimate disc so you can train at home for your chance to try out for the the team next year!

This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.
Kaidia Pickels

Kaidia is a native Pittsburgher and a content writer for a local marketing agency. She loves to travel, try new dishes at local restaurants, and drop in to fitness class throughout the city. She's a die-hard Pens fan as well as an amateur baker and mixologist — sometimes combining both in one recipe!

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