Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Relegate This: Another Burning Question

Aight. The thing is I'm wondering if anybody but a relative handful of teams actually cares about this at all. It's a big deal, trust me, if you're playing for a pro spot or playing not to lose one but otherwise I'm beginning to think nobody else is all that interested. Sure, if asked most players will say it's good 'cus psychologically it keeps hope alive that anybody can play pro even if they know (like I know and you know) that it ain't true except with some extremely rare exceptions. Did I just hear somebody say, Greg Hastings? Or was that Tony Perez? (Ouch. Even I cringed a little. Man, that was cruel and totally uncalled for but still funny and I hate to say it but funny wins out.)
Do you think fans of paintball [all seven of them] would rather see Miami Rage or MOD? Do the Naughty Dogs have a bigger following than the second Impact team? Is the pro division really better off without Rage and Dogs?

So here's the burning question: Do you think promotion/relegation is an important part of the NPPL game and if so, why?


Brandon Lambertson 909 said...

I personally completely disagree with the relegation system for a few reasons. The biggest one to me is that I think it devalues what a pro team and league is all about, by showing the general public and the "fans" (I know, we don't have any) that anyone can go pro after one year of winning in the semi pro division. I mean, you can't take your local flag football team into the NFL after winning the city series. I understand the need for teams and players to feel like they have a chance to go pro after putting in tons of time and money into this sport and the league, but I don't believe their trip to professional status should come by way of knocking out teams who have paved the way for them in the first place. What does that say about how serious we take ourselves as a competitive sport when we kick down founding teams of the league and the sport to make room for a lower level team, in the name of competition, that most likely will one, be picked apart by other pro teams, two, lose their sponsorship and or funding and have to sell, or three, will be kicked back down to semi pro in a year or two anyway. I don't think entire teams should be able to make a jump to pro. I believe you should have to go as an individual, for the sake of legitimacy, just like all other pro sports.

I also think having a bazillion kids running around calling themselves pros because they have played as pro for three events after being picked up for being fast or small and then quickly being cut because they lack what a true professional has (TALENT), makes the professional side of our sport look like a complete joke. And to top it all off, most of them act like total idiots and represent the sport horribly, with no repercussions coming from their sponsors, team owners or captains. Ok, I know that went a little off topic, but it's part of the problem.

raehl said...

This comes down to ownership.

You can't take your flag football team to the NFL because you can't afford the couple hundred million dollars it takes to buy an NFL franchise.

But NPPL doesn't have franchises. NPPL is owned by Pacific Paintball. So while the teams have it in their heads that they're "investing" in the league, the truth is, they're not. They are not "investing" in NPPL by playing any more than I'm investing in the local bar when I sign up for the summer volleyball league. I pay my entry fee and buy some beer, and I get to play, have some beer, and if we win, we get more beer. NPPL teams pay an entry fee and buy some paint, they get to play and use some paint and if they win, get some cash.

But if the year ends and the league loses $1 million, the teams don't have to pay anything. Pacific Paintball is on the hook for that.

Pacific Paintball invested the MILLIONS of dollars in the league. The teams didn't. So Pacific Paintball owns it, and the teams do not.

Given that, relegation is the only system that makes sense. If the teams want to OWN spots that CAN'T be taken away from them, I suggest they pool together a couple million dollars and start their own Pro league.

Just hope it works out better for you than it did for the NXL.

Anonymous said...

I think they should definately continue relegation and here is why. The only people in the world that would like to not see relegation are these "Pro Franchises" You speak like winning one year in semi pro means nothing. It obviously took quite a few years for most teams before they could accomplish that. If there is no chance at winning the series and moving up to pro then why try to move up the divisions at all?

I think comparing a city wide flag football team to a nfl team in no way reflects the difference between pro and semi pro. Even though most of you "Pro's" feel that way. I also disagree with you saying it devalues the league. I in no way see that. Does it devalue your pro team absolutely but why does your pro "franchise" need to be worth money. So you can one day sell the spot? If you perform well and act professional I would assume you will be getting decent funding from PBI sponsors. Teams like Rage dont belong in Pro. Do they have a good following yes. But they dont ever practice, they are under funded, and they have no heart. At the end of the day that shows. As far as the Naughty Dogs go they just could not compete this year. Its as simple as that. If they want to continue they can play Semi Pro with not nearly as much funding and try to fight for there pro spot again. Philly gave up half way through the season. In my mind that spot should have been just flat out removed since they gave up. They should not have been able to sell the spot. All though those D1 kids were entertaining to watch and surprisingly pretty good in SD.

Anonymous said...

To the second comment above I believe. You're absolutely right. So I figured I'd just throw out some ideas out. Maybe thats what paintball needs. Another league, but not like the psp and nppl event style no it would be more of like one night things. One game a night. Like NHL NFL etc... It would benefit a lot of fields, imagine having 'stadiums' for paintball. I mean it is a bit farfetched but maybe its what paintball needs? I dunno I'm just throwing these things out there, any ideas???

Baca Loco said...

Thanks for getting the ball rolling. I hope this gets a lot more comments.

You're not on point here. You've cherry-picked one comment and run off on a tangent. Long before relegation or closed divisions there were open divisions. And the pro ranks were self-selecting. So what? The teams are simply playing by the rules given them and we're discussing the pros and cons of doing things they way they're currently being done.

Appreciate the comments and I'm sure your views are pretty widely held.
Does it make any difference to you that there will now be "sister" teams in the NPPL pro ranks? Does it change anything to know that both Impact and Authority moved some of their best players down to their semi-pro teams to help them qualify? Or that no semi-pro team had to earn the right to be semi-pro? Or that only 9 teams were competing for the promotion spots.

Anonymous said...

Great idea.

A countryside of empty stadiums where "pro" teams play for no prize in front of empty seats.

I liked the idea of pooling a few million together amongst the teams more.

raehl said...

I thought I was pretty on-point. The general justification for the elimination of relegation seems to be that teams need to be able to play without having to worry about keeping their spot and 'deserve' a spot as 'investors' in the league. I think that reasoning is rubbish.

The owners get to choose who plays through whatever policy they'd like. So, Pacific Paintball could choose the Pro teams by:

Current Method: Promotion/Relegation

Old Method: Anybody who wants to pay the entry fee on an event-by-event basis

Invitation: Pacific Paintball picks the teams they like the best to play the next season

First Come/First Serve Season Deposit: First teams to pay a season deposit get to play

Franchise: Sell shares of the league for money (likely $100k+) giving a permanent spot

I don't think any of those are an improvement over promotion/relegation.

The "award permanent spots for no money" option, while certainly an improvement for the Pro teams, is a fantasy.

Maybe Pacific Paintball will do away with relegation for the coming season, but that's just a variation of the Invitation method.

BobCat said...

Relegation in the NPPL needs to end. The "league" is a tournament series and not a true league such as the NXL (even they are questionable). I have always and will always feel that the capping of PRO spots hurt paintball. To illustrate I would point out that we have no European teams coming over for tournaments in the NPPL Pro ranks anymore, because it is closed.
Paying for 5 trips over is nearly impossible and unless you are Joy or RL you can't do it. However I would like to see other teams European teams come out for Commanders Cup or Huntington and get to play PRO.
What is the point of relegation if not to spur competition and get new teams in the mix season over season? If that is what the NPPL wants they should just open the PRO bracket to anyone with the money.
I am a proponent of open enrollment in the NPPL. If some moron wants to pay to get rolled by Pro's every couple months let them.

Anonymous said...

Rage doesn't deserve to be there. They've been relegated two years in a row now. I guess Rage falls under Bobcat's label as "some moron (who) wants to pay to get rolled by Pro's every couple months." Of course it seems he may have forgotten that in NPPL, "pro" entry fee is the cheapest of all. If you're losing in semi-pro, but enjoy being a "moron" (a team that supports tournament paintball is what I assume Bobcat's definition is), why not pay half the entry fee and go pro?

Brandon is incorrectly under the impression that there is a huge gap between semi-pro and pro. Take the 'wackers for example. They got relegated, battled back through semi-pro to earn a new spot, and finished top 5 for the year (way ahead of Infamous, btw). It seems quite a few "NFL" teams got smashed on by the flag-football team. If you think there's some sort of argument about Wackers having formerly been pro before coming back and smashing you, then see Aftermath and Impact.

Pro's have a bit of pressure to perform or they must hit the road until they can prove they can compete. It's actually a blessing in disguise. If you pro teams are so sure you're the best, then Dogs and Rage can drop to semi-pro, take turns winning events all year next year and actually win some prize money. What's so wrong with that?

The argument that a team has been in pro for a long time and thus shouldn't get relegated wreaks of selfishness and fear.

Anonymous said...

"The argument that a team has been in pro for a long time and thus shouldn't get relegated wreaks of selfishness and fear."

Says the guy posting anonymously....

Anonymous said...

what sport changes rules in the middle of the season?
nppl buffalo memo ( a gun dropped from below the waist equals a three game suspension) unless you play for the ironmen and throw you gun from 6-7 feet away and slam it into the state station post and the ref turns his head away as i saw on the jt field in san diego.
nxl rule change between phx and mao: no not a 7 point cap its 9 points now and those penalty times? they were wrong too.
Clearly, we're not as pro as wed like to think we are. If the powers that be want to remove relegation, fine. Go into the 09 season and say, you know what, it was a bad idea. No problem. But to start this in the middle of the season is bush league.
The last two season has seen plenty of excitement at the top with impact last year and the ironmen and canes this year finding a way to give it to a albeit worthy dynasty.
Now theres talk of lets relegate the bottom three but bring them back before 09 and expand to 24 (and frankly i cant even imagine 24 teams worthy of a pro spot to keep it at the same quality level it is now). the brillance in this idea though is expansion in the worst economy in recent memory. plus where does this leave who gets what in sponsorship dollars? Yes we're pro, no we not, yeah i think we are, im not sure.
As far as the teams being relegated this year. art is always having to buy a pro spot back for rage. philly hardly practiced 7man, focusing on their nxl league and the millenium series which they sponsor also. the dogs just cant keep a solid roster together, wonder why?
in the end it shouldnt matter who gets relegated should it. oh yeah the politics, cannibalizing of the paintball dollars within the industry and even collusion when necessary still rule the day. i wish i could call this growing pains or survival mode, but its not. the goal should be parity not polarity. the bottom three are trending down, the top three in semi pro are trending up. if those trends are a fluke, guess what? the relegated will earn it back and the teams that moved up will lose their pro spots. in the end i prefer relegation, but im not stuck on it, if the league wants to change it, change it. but stop changin rules on the fly, its embarassing.

Anonymous said...

I think there should be a better way to handle the relegation. Letting professional organizations run multiple squads in the professional division can't be avoided with the current rules, and the view of fairness depends on which side of the spectrum you sit. However, teams like the Dogs and Rage have been in the game for a long time, and are professional entities.

Before this weekend, I have never heard of MOD, or Pheonix United. What makes them professional, per se?

Anonymous said...

What makes Rage professional? If more magazine mentions makes a team pro, then by all means keep Rage in there. But, make room for Bad Company.

Baca Loco said...

Good stuff. Any chance you anons could pick a random name next time? It's getting confusing.

Okay, Chris, I see now where you're coming from. But I don't think that's really the basis of the argument against relegation--though it is an argument being made.

I also have sympathy for the let's just quit changing the rules whenever point of view, too.

I'm also probably in the minority of those who have done both; earn a pro spot and buy a pro spot (different teams)--though I've not been relegated.

I'm also still interested in responses to my earlier comment questions about sister teams in the pros and "earning" your spot by moving established pros down to semi-pro to help out. Any takers?

be smart said...

as i see it the premise of relegation is to keep the league strong/provide added motivation to 'earn' a pro spot/and create interest and excitement in the bottom of the league at years end when these matches/games would be meaningless otherwise.

honestly and i hate to say it, but there is no interest outside of our lil world of paintball.

does it provide motivation for the teams on these bubbles? absolutely.

does it keep the league strong? this is the real point in my opinion. lets use this season as an example. . .final rankings: 3rd xfactor
5th bushwackers. . 9th aftermath. . and xfactor and aftermath WON an event each, all in their first year.now of the 3 teams being relegated the dogs have won one event what 5 years ago? you look at any strong conference or league and parity is a good thing. moving any pro team down, established or otherwise is the only i can think of that says your not here just because youve been here.
so as regard strengthening the league, i think it does. whereas buying a spot, ie rage does not.
as far as 'sister' teams go: the nppl can make rules adjustments accordingly (dealing with collusion, or for 09 no established pro players can be moved down to help outa semi sister team) in this OFFSEASON. but you want the best playing in the pro ranks, and if thats how it falls so be it. in the end adjusting rules is not a bad thing, but retro changing during the season is.

raehl said...

I agree that relegation is important for keeping parity in the league. Letting people keep spots as long as they want them just keeps piss-poor teams playing. That's great for the piss-poor teams. Hell, in the short term, it's even great for the not-piss-poor teams because they have less good teams to beat. But over the long term, it's not good for competition in the league.

But, I disagree that a team buying a spot over and over is necessarily bad. Because if they didn't buy the spot - then who would have had it? Whatever team sold the spot to Rage didn't want to compete. So let teams vote with their wallets that they're going to field a decent team next season, and if they're not, then they'll get relegated again.

You could almost make a business out of winning semi-pro and selling the spot. ;)

Anyway, the only reason I see for not having relegation is if teams are buying into the league with significant financial investment (ala old NXL). Other than that, moving teams up and down is healthy.

Since most Americans are not familiar with European sports, think of it like individual Pro sports like golf or skateboarding or snowboarding etc. The Pros earn their spots by winning. If you stop winning, you don't get to play Pro events anymore. (Sponsor exemptions aside)

hippo said...

The sister teams using two players in the final event is within the rules, so I don't take issue with it. We were given that in writing before the season started...and we didn't put up any real fight against it. The fact that the three teams who earned their pro spots this season are sister teams of current pro teams speaks more to the fact that these teams always had a solid pro team to scrimmage, every time they practiced.

Didn't roster control start as the "Nexus" rule, anyways? I can't remember exactly how it went down...but I recall them switching out most of their roster in a last-ditch effort to save a spot a few years back. That's when a rule was made to limit the number of "new" players from event to event. Seems they also tried it for a while with a cut-off point for roster changes...like after the 3rd event you couldn't switch any players? I spent a few minutes searching on Warpig attempting to prove what I think I remember, but to no avail.

Does anyone remember when the roster locks were removed...and why?

Baca Loco said...

I remember that you're basically correct but I can't fill in the details either.
My point regarding sister teams is twofold; it's corruption waiting to happen and paintball is already tainted--at least for people who know. And the argument that the upcoming semis are worthy replacements kinda suffers when the folks running those teams are unwilling to rely on their rosters to gain promotion, doesn't it?

Do the "real" professional leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) that don't have relegation have parity?

Anonymous said...

We are not a "real" professional league and will never be able to copy there formats. Not enough players, money, ect.

Anonymous said...

Dont forget the Champions League in Europe which does have relegation.

raehl said...

Depends on your definition of parity. Ask a Yankees fan. Or on the other end, a Chargers fan.

Plus, they do have relegation in a way - franchises that are not profitable move or go away. And admission is restricted.

So there are no Pro leagues that are just "whoever wants to pay gets to play". So that leaves you with the league picking who plays (invite method, US pro team sports model), a qualification method (individual sports model) or a promotion/relegation method (European sports model).

Qualification method is just a more fluid version of the promotion/relegation method - the main difference is qualification works better with thousands of individual athletes and promotion/relegation works better with tens of teams.

But both of those methods pick the participants based on on-field performance. The "invite" method picks teams based on financial investment (under the assumption that you're not going to invest a pile of money if you're not serious about getting your money back by having a real Pro team).

Since the Pro teams are not offering any financial contribution, the only way to keep Pro from turning into a joke is relegation.

raehl said...

There is one more angle to this that I think everyone is missing.

There's only one Pro league in other sports. Paintball has two Pro leagues. What suspending relegation does is allow NPPL, in a time of significantly reduced team funding, to stem losses in the Pro ranks by padding Pro with anybody willing to pay to play.

If there were only one league, that reason goes away.

Anonymous said...

regarding the questionable nature of the "sister team rosters" . . . what would you suggest at this point?? 'oh i dont like how this went down, so we changing the rules and retroactivating it?' they did what was allowed by the rules of the nppl. and how a team might strengthen their roster now that they have a pro spot is an open book.
the semi teams were not competing with nor had any influence on the poor performances of the relegated teams. therefore if they cant hang next year they would likewise go back down.
i tend to think the infusion of new blood and motivation will result in a better end of season ranking than their predecessors. And as for the relegated teams, perhaps they will rise up and show they belong based on performance and not for some longevity reason.the whole..this team is established with a following is a joke. as a base guide just look at the 'official fan clubs' of the 3 relegated teams on pbnation. 130 each maybe? by contrast rl and dynasty have 1500 and thats not much. i have no connection or affliation with the the three pro teams or the 'sister teams' so this view is not agenda driven. whether im right or wrong i want what best for the league to grow and have success. peace

Baca Loco said...

You were doing so well until that bit about only one pro league in other sports. That and you dodged the parity question. ;-)

Last Anon
No need to qualify your opinion here. That said I'm not sure using PBN is particularly accurate except perhaps for comparison purposes. For example the relative value of a Rage team versus an MOD is that sponsors know Rage delivers south Florida sales and probably has an impact beyond that to one degree or another.

be smart said...

while it makes for interesting conversation, this hot topic will likely end up being a moot point anyway. but i just worry that expansion in this economic climate AND having even more strong enough teams is a big question mark. make good decisions!

raehl said...

I didn't dodge the parity question. You didn't give me enough information to answer it - exactly how close in skill do teams have to be to be considered in 'parity'? And how would you measure it?

PERSONALLY, I think US Pro-level teams in Pro leagues have substantial parity. There may be a couple teams that have long streaks of playing poorly, but at the start of any Pro season, while there are favorites, everybody has a chance to at least make the playoffs.

I think if you do away with relegation in paintball, there will be teams playing Pro that have absolutely no chance of making Sunday. They will be destroyed again and again and again. (Although I suppose if you let enough of them in, some of them will make Sunday if you start taking 16 teams, where they will again be destroyed.) Nobody wants to see a Pro division with teams that get shot off the field in 120 seconds every time.

Touching on the team popularity issue - nobody knew who Impact or Tampa Bay Damage were 2-3 years ago either. A new team that could be the next Impact is more valuable than keeping a Rage around.

Baca Loco said...

The parity question was with regards the "real" pro leagues and all I was looking for was an opinion. :-) Because if they have parity then it isn't promo/rele that provides parity (as you've already posited), it is something a bit more complicated.

Another way of looking at your take on relegation is one of incentives. You presume that no relegation will necessarily equate to lowered incentive to compete and succeed. I don't think that's true at all. What I see is a drastically diminished return on success. In pro paintball success is not its own reward and for the last two or three years we've actually seen growing disincentives and by next season those disincentives will be taking the figurative baseball bat to pro paintball and relegation/promotion won't matter much either way.

Popularity /= value

Brandon Lambertson 909 said...

Ok, first of all, let me apologies for coming off as holier than thou. That was never my intent. So, I'm very sorry if I sounded like a prick. I clearly didn't make my point very well and I obviously left huge gaps in what I was trying to get at. Let me try and explain.

From purely the reason of keeping the divisions competitive (without having teams actually taking it upon themselves to build a stronger more competitive team in the off season) yes, you are all right, relegation makes sense. But if you look at the sport and the teams as a product to sell, which is what I'm trying to do, then I think the relegation system will make it harder to create and maintain a fan base for the professional teams. If our professional teams are changing each year, how do they keep a fan base? That's where I see value getting lost. I think the value of a professional team comes from it's ability to gain and keep a fan base by the proper branding of itself. To me, longevity, history and the assurance that a team/organization/brand, will be around is just as much a part of team sports branding as having a winning record and star players. Whether you agree or not, the end all goal is TV. I think everyone knows that TV can (and if done right, would) take paintball to the level that other sports like ours are already at, where players and owners can expect to make money from their teams. How can we put a league (any league), which only showcases its professional division, on TV and expect to have viewers become fans of a team/brand that can be relegated down to a division that will not be showcased on TV. How would they continue to follow their favorite team? Magazines? Web cast? DVD?

I am in no way trying to say that semi pro teams don't deserve to play pro and they should be kept out of the pro division, or that less competitive teams should stay pro simply because they have been around for a long period of time. I also don't believe that the two divisions are hugely gapped by talent differences. I do believe however that a league needs a certain bit of history and nostalgia with it's teams because it adds a little bit of legitimacy. This is all about much more than some team not being able to play pro, or about keeping an old pro team around. Its about making a sellable and sustainable product and I don't think relegation is a good ingredient in the big scheme of things. The current economy doesn't make this easy though.

Again, I apologies if I offended anyone the first time I opened my big mouth....lol.

Anonymous said...

Apology Accepted Brandon :)

raehl said...


I didn't say that you needed relegation to keep teams competitive. I said you needed relegation *OR* investment. US Pro leagues require significant investment to participate. And not only do you need a pile of money, you also need the existing owners to vote to accept you as a new owner - even if you're buying a spot from someone else.

In the promotion relegation model, instead of proving you are serious through investment, you do it by proving you can compete.

What will NOT work is a system where there is NO relegation and NO investment. If anybody who wants to pay a couple hundred dollars more (or even less) than the D1 entry fee can be "Pro", what you get is not going to be Pro.

So, given that I highly doubt any pro teams are going to be able to cough up the hundreds of thousands necessary to be investors, relegation is the only alternative.

Put another way, if NPPL gets rid of relegation, there will be a new Pro team next year, the NCPA All-Stars. We'll get killed every event, but it'll still be cheap advertising.


Unfortunately (or fortunately), having a stable list of Pro team names doesn't accomplish anything now. Might it be helpful when there is a TV deal? I don't think so, but even if it was, it's a problem easily solved when and if such a TV deal became available. Until then, there's no reason to worry about it.

And if you really do think a stable, recognizable list of teams is important, I offer you the perfect solution:

Nobody spends another cent on Pro teams or Pro leagues and give it all to the college teams and league. Because as far as name recognition goes, the Pros are not even close.

DC1 said...

Relegation is necessary to stay competative. What does the value of a PRO spot mean to the league? Nothing. And looking at the competition in the semi-pro ranks, its not easy there. Nobody wants to see a pro team beat up the same teams over and over. In my humble opinion, the next rule to add is Roster Locking...

Anonymous said...

Well no one mentioned us (Arsenal Evolution) I believe due to the fact we kept our same roster since the begining of the year. Do not know which way the NPPL is leaning on this one but having taken 3 teasm now into the pro division over the years , I would say the semi pro division is being diluted of competitive teams. Talk of combining D1 and semi pro will go on and most likely happen for next year. Now to the regulation ?, I do not know the answer to that, but most teams these days are area based, not to many people flying in from far away to practice as the expenses cannot be met. We were a sister team to DC Arsenal last year, this next year we are our own team with our own roster and sponsors, we are still part of the organization but we are our own entinity. The 3 teams that moved up all have owners with big pockets outside of paintball and do everything they can to support the sport. Our organization brought 4 teams to every NPPl event and next year it will be 5-6 teams (one in every division and 2 in pro), I have an open tryout for a new d2 team in 2 weeks and I have over 50 people confirmed right now to tryout. I even turned away people from Neb, FL, TX and CA. Shows there are people that want to play but need the teams to play on. (this isn't a free ride team either, all expenses will be paid for by the team members to earn their wings). The only way to end regulation would to have the NPPL let us own the rights to play in the NPPL like Arena Football does. You must purchase the franchise then you can do what you want with it witht he approval of the league and other team owners. This would give players area based teams to strive for, but this would be more money from the teams and they don't want to pay entry fees now, why would they want to spend more. Some owners would have no problems with that but I do not know about the whole. My little rant got off topic here and there so don't shoot me for that.


Baca Loco said...

More for the sake of being difficult as I get your argument I'll take a moment to point out that investment doesn't assure competitiveness either as there are more than a few *real* pro teams out there who are seldom competitive yet make money and that is ownership's goal.

If you deliver some real universities you might have something. Show us an SEC or a Big 10 of paintball. ;-)

If you don't mind let me put you on the hot seat and ask you a couple of questions since your situation puts you right in the middle.
What should the league do about sister or related teams in the same division in terms of the competition?
How many--no names required--of the semi pro teams competing this past season had a legit shot at promotion?
The first question is one the Steering Committee needs to address and the league has to act on before next season and with the second I'm just curious. And since I'm the judge of OT around here I say you're fine. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Sister related teams has happened before (XSV and NRG). My take is this and i thought there was a rule, when the teams are broken into brackets and 2 affliated teams are in the same bracket they must play first as to not affect the outcome later on. If they both make the quaters, again they are scheduled to play first, after that it really doesn't matter as they are both in the finals and if they play each other someone is moving on. Also no 2 teams may be owned by the same person so "technically" there is no sister teams, just affliated teams. Second question, I'll name teams, I have nothing to hide about teams as I am a straight shooter, the three teams I picked in the begining of the year were Arsenal, Impact and Avalance or Entourage. Looking at the next years prospects for semi pro if Entourage stays and United are the top ranked teams that came to every event and will move on up. Any teams after that, sorry to say are not ready for pro either money wise and personel wise. Personally, I think the semi pro division next year will be weak and if they combine with D1 I feel only one team should move up after that.


OA said...

No other major sports league has relegation. The simple fact is someone has to be last this year, but it doesn't mean they will be next year. Its called rebuilding, and teams need time to do so. If not we just promote the team jumping hired gun society we have right now. No continuity = No Fans.

hippo said...

Paintball "fans" = a small percentage of people who play paintball...+ the occasional family member / significant other who will only stay a fan as long as the person whom they know continues to play.

Fields are folding all over the country, which in turn means players are going away, which means the number of paintball fans is dropping...and I'm thinking it's a long way from bottoming out.

Paintball's hay-day has already come and passed for this generation of players...as we're now in a cost-cutting pattern that does not lend itself to promoting our sport to the masses.

I'd bet the farm on my assumption that Pro paintball can run any type of series it wants with no implications to the number of "fans".

Anonymous said...

This same rhetoric has been said every year from the time of the ESPN coverage of the DC Cup in 1994. That 15 seconds gave paintball players the hope that we will one day be rich professional athletes.

Well...14 years later we are up to two players making respectable money, a few making some money (but not enough to live on), and about 98% of us making nada.

raehl said...

2 players making respectable money is EXCELLENT! I think a lot of people in paintball entirely underestimate how well paintball is doing given it's age. We're just coming up on 30 years, and we're actually ahead of the curve as far as most 30-year-old sports go.


I just had an event with Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and Kentucky (plus others).

But does anybody else think we're asking the wrong question? I think the question should be, how many Pro teams are going to finish the season next year - whether that be by cutting numbers at the outset, or attrition as the year goes on.

Jr said...

I don't have an entire day to read every post but what about the idea of only relegating one pro team? You still achieve the purpose of promoting a single, deserving semi-pro team and relegating the worst performing pro team.

Anonymous said...

I agree with JR

Tony Perez said...

Tony Perez says....

what are you saying about me?

Baca Loco said...

Nice southeast event. Why don't more of the big name schools play the national? At least this past event at CFP seemed to be populated by mostly smaller schools without the higher profile sporting pedigree. (But then I wasn't paying a huge amount of attention.)
Oh yeah--this is way off topic.

I'll be doing a closing post on the relegation issue which will offer a prediction on that specific topic.

Tony P.,
I see somebody ratted me out. :-) It's a joke--and a fairly cheap shot but on the plus side I needed to pick a couple of names that most everyone would recognize. So six of one, half dozen of the other. And if I have to explain the gag it won't be funny. They never are.

raehl said...


It's simple numbers. The NCPA has teams from colleges of all sizes. There are 119 DI-A universities. There are a lot more non-DI schools.

Plus only half of the league's teams seem to travel to Nationals, so you see more big-name schools at conference events.

be smart said...

heres my predictions:

no entry for pros. . .no payout for the four events.

before 09 the three bottom pros will be brought back, if ever even relegated.

24 teams with waaaaay to many weak ones as filler and we have dynasty winning 2 and two of the top 8 teams winning the other 2 events.

semi and d1 become one division.

sponsorship dollars shrink and polarize even more to the few top teams. in particular paint will be hard to come by, fewer practices, less good quality consistant paintball.

i wish it was a brighter picture. id love to hear the explanations for these decisions if they happen. in particular, the expansion. . i just cant see it helping the nppl.

and my final pick 6 selection: we realize tv is to rich for our blood to do it 'well enough' (whatever well enough may be) for now. we opt for a slick youtube grassroots production campaign.

and one more turbulent prediction that disturbs the masses: preleased layouts are done away with.

Anonymous said...

Relegation is needed with no big investment. Yeah rage will help sales in south Florida but look at what Impact and Bart have done for a whole country. Bring up new faces and bring in new fans. Look at Barclays Football league, The biggest sports league in the world uses relegation and it works.


undrdg said...

relegation cannot happen this time as there was a whole tournament missed. All teams have had the opportunity to play 5 events to get relegated. This year because of a hurricane, only 4 events where played. Seems a bit unfair at this point to relegate based on that number.

What will be interesting to see in the next year is how many pro teams will continue to have the level of sponsorship needed to maintain a pro spot.

Just because you move up from semi-pro to pro does not mean you automatically get the sponsorhips to go along with it.

But my point is still this: you cannot relegate during a season that is incomplete.

DC1 said...

(1) The Pro Division is locked at 18 teams. At the end of each season, the bottom three ranked teams will be regulated to Semi Pro status.

Quoted "relegation cannot happen this time as there was a whole tournament missed. All teams have had the opportunity to play 5 events to get relegated. This year because of a hurricane, only 4 events where played."

It doesent matter if only 1 event was played for the season. The rules state "At the end of each season"...

undrdg said...

The rules state that 1 season = 5 events.
How is 4 events = to 1 season.

I know it is a technicality but i still believe it is unfair to relegate because of this.

The NPPL and the PSP has a history of changing their rules as they see fit. I don't see how this is any different.

The current state of paintball and the economy in general dictate that a more conservative approach should be taken when dealing with this situation.

It would benefit the NPPL greatly to introduce even more PRO teams into the stable an allow the staple teams to remain.

A stable pro league will allow a the fan base to continue to grow.

More needs to be done for the pro teams. Their battles and rilvaries should be what the NPPL should focus on.

The NPPL should focus all their efforts into promoting each team like the UFC promotes their fights. Chronicle their personal stories, highlight their best times, make a big deal about the pros.

22 pro teams would be an amazing way to start to build the PRO division from here on out. But it will take everyone to undertake this.

FSN started doing that with Beyond the paint, but it needs to go further. Magazine advertisements should focus on the Ironmen vs Dynasty matchups, or the Infamous vs Aftermath matchups. Find the drama and showcase it.

Paintball after all is all about the battle; the struggle to become the best; the mental tenacity it takes to completely decimate your opponent with strategy and firepower.

These are the things that make paintball amazing and should be highlighted.

Let the pros stay!

raehl said...

How many websites do you want to be wrong on Undrdg?

If the goal is a STABLE Pro division, the right move is cutting the number of teams to 12.

Start with 12, finish with 12. That's stable.

Start with 24, finish with 16 or 18. That's not stable.

The more teams you add, the LESS pro they get, and the LESS well you promote your teams. You can do a much better job promoting 12 teams than you can 24 teams because each team gets twice as much time.

But the idea that NPPL becomes MORE stable by letting 24 "Pro" teams try to play is patently absurd.

Anonymous said...

Hey underdog, can you show me that rule where a season is 5 events, it isn't there tahts why. I have read the rule book through and though and it isn't there. And for those saying the semi pro teams cannot get sponsored, its cost more to play semi pro that to play pro these days. All 3 teams that got promoted have owners with much cash so i don;t see it as a problem at all for them.

undrdg said...

my opinion counts just as much as yours. Just because you have access to all that APPA data and can make any statistic you want look right does not mean you are the expert on all things paintball. You have some good opinions, but thats all they are, opinions, just like mine. You can continue to put them out there as much as you want, but as long as i have my own i will put them out there.

Obviously there is NO magic number that will make any of the leauges "STABLE". The NXL has not been able to hold 12 teams, and those where franchises which you swore up and down was the future of paintball. Look at it now, there aren't even 12 teams that can afford to play in it.

As of right now, there are more than 12 teams that are able to play PRO in the NPPL. Why not let them play? At this point in time a stable PRO league is a league that still has teams that are willing to play in it.
Semi Pro teams that have won that division have proven themselves to be PRO and certaintly most of the PRO teams in the league now deserve to be there so why not let them?
The leagues are broken at this time so why not try this and see if it works?

The failed experiment that was the NXL should have tought us that throwing money at the league isn't the only solution.

At this point nobody knows what the right solution is.
Not even you Raehl.

undrdg said...

this is for anon:

28.01 Format. The 2007 NPPL Super 7 World Series Title is based on points
accumulated from five National events. A Series Cup will be awarded to each Divisional Series
winner. The Professional division will also receive custom NPPL Super 7 World Series Rings.
Teams do not have to attend all five events to be ranked.

Therefore 5 events = 1 season

Anonymous said...

The rule you are stating underdog is for the series title and has nothing to due with regulation. No where does it say a NPPL season is five events, having to deal with contracts and lawyers multiple times, your therefore statement is an interpertation of the rule which can be done so in 100 different ways.

Anonymous said...

well there you have it . . the NW bias. under-DOG(s).

undrdg said...

show me where it has nothing to do with relegation? If you have to play 5 events to win the title don't you have to play 5 to be relegated?

Yes i am from the NW so what? i have tons of friends on Miami Rage as well and other pro teams.

If i am biased its for all the pros that put in the effort to be as professional as they can only to get the shaft from the leagues.

Anonymous said...

Its not I have to show you it has nothing to do with regulation, you show me it does. The spirit of the rule is a term used alot might mean 5 events for regulation but it doesn't say that anywhere in the rules. When I consulted an attorney on this, he stated the NPPL can say 5 events did take place, all teams recieved a zero for the 4th event. Not siding either way just looking at the rules as they are written.

raehl said...


Everyone can have an opinion. But some people's opinion can be a lot more informed and valuable and likely to be correct than others. And in my experience, your opinions tend to be tremendously uninformed and not-well-reasoned. You argued that NPPL needed to grow to 24 teams to be "more" stable and make it EASIER to promote teams to the audience, and I think it's pretty obvious to anyone that ADDING teams makes both of those goals harder, not easier. So yes, you can have your opinion, but it's still wrong.

And your most recent reply again displays that your opinions are not well informed. First, *NONE* of the NXL teams that left this year were franchise teams. Second, I never said franchises were the future of paintball. I just said that if people expect to have owner rights, then they better be ready to pony up the cash to be owners. Paintball can do just fine in a European/current-NPPL model, so long as everyone honestly understands what everyone's role is.

As for the issue at hand, are there more than 12 teams who can afford to play? Sure. But the number of teams who *CAN* afford to play and the number of teams who *THINK* they can afford to play are not the same. There probably are 24 teams who think they can afford to compete. But there's probably only 14-18 who will actually be able to finish the season. The problem is, nobody knows, in advance, which of the borderline teams are going to be the ones who will make it. So if NPPL starts with 18 teams, it's incredibly unlikely that they finish with those 18 teams. And if they start with 24, it's virtually certain that 6 or more of those teams won't make it to the end of the season.

So *IF* your goal is STABILITY, the correct solution is only let the 12 most-qualified teams start the season. That gets the industry concentrating the resources on those 12 teams, and because you picked the best-situated teams, they'll be most likely to finish, whereas if you let another 6 teams who might or probably will finish the season in, you'll almost certainly lose some mid-way through.

Now, I'm not saying that cutting to 12 teams is the overall right thing to do, but it's the right thing to do if stability is the main consideration. And 24 teams is absolutely the wrong thing to do to promote stability.

See how that worked? I have my opinion, you have your opinion, but your opinion is still wrong. No APPA statistics involved either.

undrdg said...

Thanks for your reply chris;
as always your condescending tone is much appreciated and enjoyed. I so love to make you write long argumentative posts. I especially love the part where you tell me my OPINION is wrong. LOL. By the way Chris, i just wanted to let you know that i have conferred with myself and we have come to the conclusion that your opinion is completely and utterly incorrect. So there....pffft.

I simply argued to let the pro teams play. If that meant growing to more than 20 teams so be it. At the end of the season lets see who is left standing.

24 teams may or may not be the right thing to do but atleast they are doing something. Fact is YOU DO NOT KNOW either.

What if all 24 teams finish the season? Then what? Teams are going to play what makes the most sense economically. So let them have the choice. If they can play in a league with 12-14-24 or 30 teams then let them play. Nobody can correctly speculate the future.

Again, my goal, is to just let them play. I just mentioned the 20 plus teams idea because that's how many would be there if relegation didn't take place.

Come on chrissypooh, we can go round and round as much as you want. You can say neat things, with your ever eloquent prose and i can say my neat things, in my own unique way, but really, what are you trying to do? Make me flail my arms out it complete frustration and say "OMG CHRIS RAEHL IS DA GOD OF ARGUMENTS!!", I think not.

So why don't you just agree to disagree with me instead? Its not like anything you or i say will determine the outcome of the relegation question.

Or did you honestly think that the powers that be are actually going to take your ideas and implement them?

Awww, you did? That's totally ok little guy. It's ok to dream big. I know you think your opinions are facts, but lets be real, the nppl is going to do whats best for them. Not what you think is best for them.

So go back to you computer, read this post, get angry, then get level headed and post another flurry of zings for me to think about. I promise i will give them as much attention as you want me to give them.

undrdg said...

You consulted an attorney? I suppose the NPPL can say that if they wished. I just pointed out to you where it says in the rule book that 5 events is equal to 1 season.
It doesn't say anything about 4 events, or canceled events, it just says 5 events.
If it can be interpreted either way then i guess we are both right and wrong.

Baca Loco said...

Alright, kids. Youse starting to go round in circles and keeping an eye on your comments is a waste of my time so unless anybody has anything *new* to add don't post as I'll likely just delete it in order to avoid dragging this out endlessly.

Other than that thank you all for participating and don't hesitate to jump in again sometime.

undrdg said...

he started it.

hippo said...

I'm curious who started this relegation (not regulation, mind you) argument in the first place. And what was their reason for it?

People will be people...and people take other people's ideas and run with them all the time...often for reasons not even considered by the originator.

In the above posts, members/affiliates of the #1~#15 pro teams have begun lining up behind the #16~#18 teams in some effort to 'save' them. Baca, Brandon, Jr, nehurricanes...these are all people who seem to fall into this category.

What is the motivation for this?

I'm not interested in other sports' leagues or European leagues or sister teams or potential for sponsors to reach certain markets. These issues are all stretches where people are grasping for reasoning to back up their gut feeling. It's that gut feeling that I'm curious about.

That simple, basic need that is either not being met or is in jeopardy. What makes them want to research European football league models in an effort to convince the rest of us that they are right?

If that root cause was brought to light, this discussion would take on a whole new meaning...

raehl said...

I don't see where the mystery is.

If you currently have a pro spot, it is in your obvious short-sighted self-interest to end any process by which you might lose that spot.

Ideally, you'd also prefer that no one else is able to acquire a spot without buying one from one of the current teams.

But, as has been pointed out, it is unrealistic to expect the league to give away such a valuable privilege for free.

Baca Loco said...

There's always been an undercurrent of dialogue about promo/relegation at least among those directly involved or those seeing themselves in the mix. It may have become a bigger topic this year on the basis on things that may or may not have been said or promised in the recent past.
It is also a topic of interest in the sense Chris suggested in his last post regarding the limited number of spots and the relative value, if any, that they have.
And, in my estimation, the place where Chris's argument is open for debate is the fact it's predicated on a posited value that is unquantified and takes no consideration for the other half of the equation, cost.

While I don't favor continued relegation because I'm unconvinced it's doing it's job I did come out in favor of relegation if there is going to be promotion. My larger concern is one of survival. Competitive paintball is in a transitional period in which the leagues have pushed costly demands on what it means to try and compete as a pro team but take no responsibility for the result--and the result will soon be a lot fewer pro teams. A guy like Chris doesn't mind because in the larger scheme of things he figures it will all hash itself out and he's right, it will. The situation tends to bother me--not because it will harm me (I'm in a much better place than the majority of players)--but because I understand where guys like Brandon are coming from who have committed years and plenty of blood, sweat and tears to this game only to discover they've been commodified. And in the case of teams there are more than a few owners out who are yet to realize the same thing is happening to them. Doesn't mean paintball owes them anything necessarily, it just means sometimes things suck.

Anonymous said...

Hippo i agree with you. I always find that the players themselves are on the receiving end of the crap pole.
While the situation might hash itself out in the long run, it might also get worse. I do feel for the pros that have put their hearts and souls into this sport, only to have them be told that because of one bad year or incomplete tournament their entire pro status has been up ended. Doesn't seem fair at all especially this day in age.

be smart said...

the question of relegation and it being done away with goes back to the beginning of this season when one of the owners brought it up at HB. a what if scenario was brought up that basically said is it fair to relegate a team(s) that has supported the league for years. shawn said it would be looked at and discussed. since then there HAVE been discussion and baca's question is timely and legit.

be smart said...

let me clarify my last post. the relegation discussion goes farther back that 08 HB. but in its current context, it started from the beginning of the season.

raehl said...

You have an interesting definition of fair.

This isn't tee-ball.

Players will have Pro spots as long as they are among the best players in the game.

How long or how hard you have tried or how much you have given to be Pro doesn't matter. Thousands of kids give everything to try and be Pro and don't make it. That's just the reality of the situation.

In MY view of fair, things are fair when you are compensated appropriately for what you are worth.

The problem is, with a couple exceptions, Pro paintball players are not worth anything.

Anonymous said...


"The problem is, with a couple exceptions, Pro paintball players are not worth anything."

Because their not compensated or because their not worth anything?

raehl said...

They are not worth anything more than any other consumer of paintball equipment. Actually, to the extent that they may not pay full price for things, they're worth less.

The hard truth is that if you took 95% of the pro players, banished them to an island, and replaced them with D1 players, or D2 players, it would not affect equipment sales, it would not affect the league's promotional efforts, it would not affect, well, anything.

Anonymous said...


While I guess that makes sense, it really doesn't prove a point at all. Although pro players are not worth that much in the current situation, We are worth something.

I believe pro players have a huge effect on regional sales. Before we (X-factor) started shooting ego's in Texas, you would see maybe one or two out at the field. Now Texas is overrun with the gun. Anyone just starting out in the tournament scene sees us shooting that and wants it. Now if we shot DM's or shockers I think it would be a different story.

Yeah if you moved us all to an island to moondog for the rest of our lives, moved up D1 and D2 players, then you see the trend of purchases following whatever those players are using. You'd in a sense be making them the new pro players. The point I'm getting at is that people will buy whatever they see the best teams use. Whether the best team in they're area is pro or not, it doesn't matter. They will look to see who is the best and mimic them accordingly (even as far as playing styles).

Even before we were pro, our eclipse deal most likely had a big effect on a jump in sales in our region.

Grayson "moondog" Goff

unrdg said...

i guess the same can be said with any professional athlete. but its what that player does on the field that makes him a legend or just another player.

And that is something that needs to be chronicled more and more as i posted earlier. The fact that we have so called liquid pros is a direct representation of how the leagues treat the pros. They choose to market the league first rather than the teams as Matty Marshall has said many times in the past.

however the memories we have now are what makes the pros pro, starting with the split of the ironmen, the rise of dynasty, the rise of the all american dominance in xball, defection of miami effect, the rise and fall of xsv, the end of ollie lang at dynasty to the re rise of the ironmen...the list goes on and on.

you couldn't script better history if you tried.

But these historical facts are never brought up during tournaments or during marketing campaigns and personally i think its a complete waste.

If these stories where told and glorified like they deserve to be, PROS would and should be worth a lot more than you say they aren't.

Anonymous said...

That's what I always liked about Patrick Sopher and Derder Rob's videos. They captured the emotion that is involved in the sport. No one else has been able to accomplish anything even close.


undrdg said...

Indeed. I just wish the leagues would hire those people to market the pros. Cuz if they did, then maybe we wouldn't be in this position. Maybe we would have a more stable pro league.

raehl said...


I don't disagree, but I don't think we're talking about the same thing. Your example illustrates that Pros can sway purchase decisions, but that doesn't equate to value for a particular Pro player. I'd imagine you could take any one of the players on your team and replace them with someone else and it wouldn't much matter - the same people would buy the same guns because X-Factor used them, but the particular person in the X-Factor jersey is immaterial.

Similarly, the league could replace X-Factor. Maybe people in Texas would stop buying those guns, but then people in whatever area the team that replaces you comes from would buy guns instead.

You can't breathe without air, but it's still free. In fact, if you go to a place with air, and remove that air, more air will rush to fill the space, and no one is going to notice that the air is different.

With few exceptions, pro paintball players are the same way. If you empty some pro spots, other players will rush to fill the space, and no one is going to notice the difference.

Anonymous said...

all you guys have the answers but your failing the test !

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