Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monopoly 101

Competitive paintball is heading into our version of silly season during which time our version of the Federal Reserve Board [PBIlluminati*] (an unelected elite who decide our fate and are, at present, doing a bang up job of treating our economy like yesterday's bad Mexican dinner) will be contemplating the latest round of changes they will make to our sport.

**Warning: totally unconnected segue** If the wacky and whack goings on in big time paintball make you want to tear your hair out take a deep cleansing breath and relax. By all means join the revolution but don't let it eat you up. Pull up a chair and kick back while you fight the power. With decisions on the horizon like some of the ones being currently considered it may not be too long before we're all singing hello to the new boss same as the old boss.

Back to the previously scheduled post.
As posted by our friends over at pbreserve (and confirmed) with regards to gats it seems the Millennium Series crowd are contemplating top to bottom league sponsorship rules and restrictions that would mean no product could be sold at an MS event if the manufacturer wasn't a sponsor of the league. This policy is already in place with respect to paint. And, as with the paint used, the MS is also considering restricting equipment used in the competition to the gear of league sponsors only as well.
Before having a good laugh over that insanity let's look at the paint situation and how it may lead into the latest derangement. The MS artificially restricts team access to paint by charging the paint producers usurious rates in order to sell at events. That reduces the teams sources of paint and creates a different price structure than might otherwise exist. Now they think they may want to do that to every other bit of gear as well but what will be the likely result? How many vendors are retail outlets? Are they supposed to only bring stock that everyone else plus the manufacturer will have? And how much are they supposed to pay for the privilege of competing with how many other sellers all selling the same stuff? And what is the likelihood of the MS getting battery manufacturers or battle swab makers to sponsor their event series? Most of the small or specialty equipment makers can't justify a vendor's booth much less a league sponsorship. The certain result of any such league restrictions is to freeze out all but the largest manufacturers. (So I can see why some of them might be in favor of this.) And we haven't even gotten to how it will affect team participation. As it currently operates no team in its right mind should have anything to do with the MS much less acquiesce to having some league dictate to them what gear they can and can't use. In the upper divisions they already pay a licensing fee to have a spot and then pay entries on top of that. If most Euros are so easily separated from their cash I'll need to start selling "pristine wetland parcels" in Florida to our foreign neighbors and charge a premium for letting them in on such a unique opportunity.
The best part of this is of course that variations of the same discussions are happening on our side of the pond, too and I bet you can guess by whom.
On the bright side, if the MS were to do this it would be an engraved invitation to start a competing league. And if anyone was greedy or stupid enough to try it over here it would be ritual seppuku, the public suicide of a paintball league.

[*] PBIlluminati refers to the small group of PB elites who have a piece of everything paintball and as a consequence have a hand in making nearly every important paintball decision.


Josh S. said...

I heard talks about this happening in the PSP next season as well.

Baca Loco said...

Yeah, I heard that too but how do you do satire when reality is so screwed up? :)

JStein said...

I am told this is standard practice at non-paintball events.

You can't buy RC Cola at NFL stadiums.

Honestly, I think this may be more part of the solution than the problem.

Baca Loco said...

There's a huge difference between a spectator buying a Coke and not being able to buy a Pepsi and a team playing the event not being allowed to use their markers or their packs or whatever because their equipment's manufacturer isn't a league sponsor.