How Long Is an Ultimate Frisbee Game?

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While Ultimate Frisbee might not be as popular as American football or basketball, it is played by about 7 million people in over 80 countries, and is thus, quite popular. This game shares some similarities, as well as differences, with many famous sports, for instance, the length of one game. So, how long is an ultimate frisbee game?

How Long Is an Ultimate Frisbee Game?

A typical ultimate frisbee game lasts anywhere between 36 and 50 minutes. It is usually divided into two halves of 18 minutes each, and a half-time break of 5 minutes in between.

It is usually the work of the observer to accurately keep track of the time throughout the game, including stops for goals, fouls, injuries, and time-outs.

Man in white shirt playing frisbee

The aim of this game is to score points by passing the disc to a team player at the opposite end zone. At the end of the game, the team with the highest number of points, which has to be at least two points higher than the opposing team, is declared the winner.

How Long Are Ultimate Frisbee Tournaments?

Ultimate frisbee tournaments usually last anywhere between 2 and 5 days. Tournaments involve a series of ultimate series games played amongst different teams competing against, either to promote or relegate teams or to determine an overall winner.  Teams may play an average of 5 games each day, each lasting approximately 75 minutes.

Ultimate frisbee tournaments can be played in different formats, depending on the goals of the contest, as well as the scheduled length of the tournament.

The four formats most commonly used are:

  • Round robin
  • Single elimination 
  • Double elimination 
  • Swiss system 

Asides from the formats the games are played in, there are also different types of ultimate frisbee tournaments played. These types are distinguished based on the type of pitch they are played in, the costumes of the players, and the arrangement of the game.

The four main types are: 

  • Grass tournament
  • Beach tournament 
  • Hat tournament 
  • Indoor tournament 
A n ultimate frisbee game with team players

How Long Is a College Ultimate Frisbee Game?

An ultimate frisbee college would typically last anywhere between 36 and 50 minutes, with the halves lasting 18 or 25 minutes respectively. College games are played in a similar way to the standard club games, with the only difference being that the former is played for a shorter time. 

Over 18,000 college students play the game yearly, with about 800 registered campus teams, and this number is constantly on the rise, according to the USA Ultimate (USAU), which is in charge of competitive high school college and club ultimate. 

Despite the high participation in this game amongst college students, however, the ultimate game is not licensed to be played at the college level by the National College Athletic Association (NCAA). This means that it is predominantly a club sport. 

Related Questions 

What Are the Rules of Ultimate Frisbee?

Just like every professional sport, ultimate frisbee has a set of rules regulating the smooth running of the game to ensure fair play.

  • A player should not ‘travel’ with the disc and is expected to establish a pivot
  • A player in possession of the disc is expected to release the disc within 10 seconds of possession
  • Since ultimate frisbee is a non-contact game, any form of physical contact during defense is counted as a foul
  • A point is scored when an opponent lands in the endzone with both feet. The goal line does not count as part of the endzone 
An ultimate frisbee disc laid on ground
  • When passing the disc, a player may throw with one or both hands. However, he or she is not allowed to use any other part of the body to release the disc
  • Only one opponent is allowed to mark the throwing player
  • A thrower can not catch his or her own pass
  • Substitutions can only be carried out to replace a wounded player or after a goal before the next throw off
  • Finally, the game of Ultimate Frisbee is established on the Spirit of the Game, though competitive and fast-paced, players should respect fellow players. No foul language or any form of aggression is permitted

Are There Referees in Ultimate Frisbee?

The game of Ultimate Frisbee takes pride in its self-officiating system and ‘spirit of the game’ principle where players take responsibility for the smooth running, and fairness of the game.

However, referees were recently introduced as a part of the officiating system of the game. For the most part, players are still very conscious about fairplay.


The ultimate frisbee is a thrilling, highly competitive, and fast-paced game. Most importantly, this game is ruled by the Spirit of the Game, and thus, players are expected to conduct themselves properly and according to the rules of the game.

This, in addition to the specific rules and guidelines guiding the game, is the major difference between it and other games.

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.