Q&A: Drs. Christina Lee Chung and Jeff George of the Philadelphia Phoenix
The new owners of the city's professional ultimate Frisbee team share their vision for the organization.
Drs. Cristina Lee Chung and Jeff George. Photo by Tessa Marie Images.
Getting hooked on ultimate Frisbee in college, Dr. Jeff George continued to perfect his technique over the years, eventually becoming one of the area’s elite players and coaches. He shared the sport with Dr. Christina Lee Chung while they were dating. She fell for ultimate Frisbee—and for him. Now married with two children, the two are the new owners of the Philadelphia Phoenix, a professional team that’s part of the American Ultimate Disc League, which plays in Conshohocken.
MLT: Why Frisbee?
JG: When I was at Penn State, I was in a house with two players on the ultimate club team, and they invited all the other roommates to come to practice. It took me awhile, but I loved it. With a Frisbee and seven people against seven people, you’d be so surprised at how athletic it is. It’s hard.
CLC: I played tennis, lacrosse; I skied my whole life. But I hadn’t participated purposefully in any sports because I had a lot of academic ambitions in college. But then, after watching Jeff play in this really great community of people, finally I was like, “You know what, I love sports, I love running, I love hand-eye coordination.” I stunk for the first year but, like Jeff, I was hooked.
MLT: What made you want to buy the Phoenix?
JG: I don’t play nearly as much as I used to. I stopped coaching, and there was just a void there. We were approached by the general manager, who sold us on the idea. My motto is, “Whatever your fear is, face it and jump right in.”
CLC: I thought it would be a great opportunity to grow the sport and to share how fun it is to play and how equally entertaining it is as a spectator sport. It’s something that has a very limited demographic. I want to bring it to a diverse group of people. Philadelphia is the perfect place to grow it. It’s the country’s ultimate Frisbee hub, and it’s such a diverse city of people who love sports.
MLT: What does ownership entail?
JG: Like other small businesses, it’s a lot of communication, emails, business meetings. I like to go the games, the practices. I want to get to know the players and who they are.
CLC: It’s kind of a crash course in business management, finance and sports marketing. There’s that whole other level where you have to be engaged with the league, too.
MLT: What are your goals for the team?
CLC: We really worked hard on rebranding this year. One of our immediate goals is to increase awareness of ultimate [Frisbee] as a sport. I really want to engage with the community, to offer camps and clinics—especially in communities of color.