Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Being Pacific Paintball

Upfront I want to apologise for the miserable *prediction* that is the Richter or Beaufort? post. It's mostly not particularly informative. If you can make heads or tails of it (or think you can) odds are it's even more disconcerting. You are either excited or terrified. Or a little bit of both or perhaps, like me, you're thinking it's a day late and a dollar short.
This post is my attempt to make it up to you and follow-up on my threat in Last Word on Relegation to drop a dime on Pacific Paintball.

Disclaimer: all the following is nothing more than my interpretation of the factoids. (Your opinions may vary so feel free to add your comments.)

In some bizarro alternative universe (or if you're into speculative quantum mechanics, a different multiverse) I could be way off base but if I've got it wrong at least I've been consistently wrong. In the Dead Tree Archive there are 3 columns related to this topic; The 18 was published in Feb, 05 and An Inconvenient Truth in Mar, 07. Is the Honeymoon Over? was written in 07 and is among the too-dangerous-to-publish unpublished pieces listed towards the bottom of the archive. The columns will also fill in some detail the post doesn't include for those interested. (Why the Dead Tree Archive? It's all part of my grand scheme to generate massive multiple page views and boost my advertising ... er, hang on, I don't actually have any advertising. Apparently the grand scheme needs a little work.)

The trick to understanding the NPPL is to realize that paintball is a means, not an end. That was true of the Pure Promotions version of the NPPL as well. I don't mean that to necessarily imply anything negative but I do think it's had consequences. I also don't mean to suggest that you can't do one thing and have multiple reasons for doing it but, again, I think the ultimate or primary purpose will necessarily influence every decision that follows. This can be good or bad and, depending on your point of view, both at the same time.
So if a renowned international tournament series isn't focused on paintball what is it focused on? In the Pure Promotions (PP) days part of it was to show the Old Guys that the New Guys knew better and could do it better. And the largest part of that was tourney as festival. Tourney as festival was also a key to "selling" paintball and TV was seen as the medium to making it happen. And it so happens that Pacific simply picked up where PP dropped out and is also in the business of selling paintball. It's more complex than that and Pacific has more than one goal but all of them boil down to ways of selling paintball (not operating successful tournaments.) Which, if it actually brought more money and profile to competitive paintball would be hailed as a great success. (And it might even be one.)
However as a black-hearted cynic I am inclined to see the dark cloud rather than the silver lining. So what I see is a league that is fundamentally clueless in addressing paintball issues and doesn't have anyone in the organization today who is likely to succeed where others failed. Pacific expended all their capital (cash & goodwill) pacifying the pro teams while the rank and file voted with their feet and left. The question for them then is what comes next? More of the same or something different or ...?
If I were you I might be wondering about a couple of things; Who are these imaginary buyers and what's that pacifying the pro teams all about? 'TV' was shorthand for future paintball success. That has changed to 'outside sponsors' (the imaginary buyers.) Kinda like global warming has morphed into the more all-inclusive, climate change. The part that's for "sale" is the pro division competition on TV. What is on offer is the premier paintball event to connect to the wide world of all things paintball and its prime demographic, etc. The medium, and the seller, is the NPPL who can deliver all that. Or so the pitch goes. And in order to validate the pitch (prior to the first big deal) the league needs the pro teams participation. Once, if it were ever to happen, the league became the de facto face of paintball the actual participating teams matter much less.

Tomorrow the PSP. (Is that a promise or a threat? You decide.)


Hippo said...

So, from your point of view, Pacific is clueless about paintball, they're broke and they've lost a significant amount of customers. The pros are only sticking around because they are being pacified (clever play on words, btw.)

Sounds like Pacific needs to close up shop and move on to other ventures.

This may be good...although I don't want to get ahead of myself. I better wait for the PSP post later today before I make up my mind.

I do think it would be better for paintball as a whole if one of the leagues would bow out. If nothing else, it would help clarify the difference between 'tournament' paintball and the rest.

Baca Loco said...

The pros are also sticking around because some of them prefer the format and most of them are also playing the waiting game to see if Pacific can actually *sell* paintball and competing in the NPPL is considerably less expensive right now.
Clueless may be overstating it. I've always thought the real problem was the actual competition hasn't been the priority. The PP guys knew paintball but still made, in my estimation, some poor decisions--like the gun rules (or lack thereof.) Pacific has gotten a few new sponsors, like the military services--though under what conditions?--but they continue to run the events to the same template that PP bailed out on and has shown steady decline year to year for three seasons now.
Maybe Scott Pierce is the guy to turn it all around but there's a lot to be done.