Monday, February 2, 2009

Major League Paintball Held Hostage, Day 32

As this is Day 32 and the readership is ever expanding (50+ countries and around 7000 unique visitors this month) let me explain major league paintball held hostage (for the new kids). With the demise of the NPPL and the economic crunch it is clear that national level competitive paintball is facing an uphill road in the near term. That is the larger part of it. The lesser part is that major league paintball worldwide remains in the control of a very few folks and in this same near term the game as a viable sport is in their hands. Beyond that everyone interested in competing or already competing has a role to play. Consequently, VFTD is, for the time-being, offering up a daily reminder of the state of the game.

Today is T minus 10. (Days till close of registration for Phoenix plus one.) The purpose is to give some sense of where major league paintball is right now. Last year Phoenix had 123 teams including the NXL teams. As of 1:30 PM EST there are 84 paid teams not including the pros who are currently not listed. Teams registered is 144 not including the pro teams. This looks like there is a good chance the event will at least match last year.

If anyone has dropped by because they tried to engage me in dialogue over at the Nation (in that classification thread in the PSP forum) but I didn't respond I'll be happy to do so here in comments or via email. I didn't look for any posts except Lane's reply to me so I don't know but it wasn't (and isn't) my intention to ignore anybody. I just didn't see any good coming from it in that environment.

I was gonna post something about the new UWL (Ultimate Woodsball League) but once I got to Special Weapons, paint grenades and air strikes, er, Artillery Barrages I (briefly) lost the will to live. Okay, this is something but still. I wonder if paintball is now destined to see the pendulum swing wildly in the direction of the commando wannabe crowd. Is there any chance somebody will bring back real woodsball tournaments?


C said...

"this highlights another problem with the current process. The process is dumbing down the divisions. If this year's D1 winners are effectively the same as last year's D2 winners then next year they get tossed into Semi-pro and S-P becomes the new division nobody wants to play. You've simply moved an old problem up one step."

I might be with you on this, 100% if it wasn't for a simple fact that you and I know, but maybe most don't. The ultimate goal for the Semi-Pro division is to become a feeder division to the Pro team, if this in fact becomes a rule rather then an idea the benefits of winning your semi-pro spot this year (assuming it will be locked next year) is huge.

You heard it straight from the bosses mouth, as did I. That is the plan of the PSP. So assuming that there are 4 teams in this years Semi Pro division, and a possible 4 of them 11 teams now registered in D1 will be moved up again next year it will be very beneficial for a pro team to have a semi pro team.

On the surface, one might not see all the good benefits, but the ability to park 2 pro players on a roster, the ability to bring up lower end talent through a semi-pro spot at ones request, and of course a sister team on the web cam. Some of these benefits are huge depending on your team structure.

If the PSP isn't going to have a "Try Out" event for a pro, then really a Semi-Pro team that is willing to work with / for a pro team is huge! And while there are some people who may not be able to see the benefits, you someone who has more details about the subject should!

If all this comes to light over the next 2 seasons I am hopeful that we do make the Semi-Pro cut, and that team owners are calling and saying "We have this D3 player" or "We have this AXBL player" or "We have this USPL player that we want on our team but we can't pick him up until he plays on a semi-pro roster..... This is what we have to offer."

I do not think things are as bad as people are making them out to be..

Paintball Pro Shop Talk said...

I agree about the woodsball thing... I was excited as hell when I saw 10man woodsball tournaments. Then the excitement faded... I keep wondering if this is what it feels like to be out of touch. Do old timers yearn for the return of the ModelT?

Baca Loco said...

Thanks for dropping by, "C"

For teams in your class things have been more or less fine. My larger concern is the great mass of middling teams that ought to be left alone to play paintball and enjoy coming to

With respect to semi-pro one of the short term problems is the league wants it both ways. They will keep shoving teams up and in the process lose 50% - 60% of those players (assuming the current attrition rates) and part of that process will be to move some of this year's D1 (D2 skills) into S-P to make room for the next batch of D2's into D1 trying to keep the numbers up. It's an endless process because simply making teams move up will not solve the concern over limited team numbers in the upper ranks.

The reason we were going to run an S-P team is exactly as you state but I can see a different result than the one you are hoping for. Once the PSP is confident enough in the outcome to enforce the S-P Ranking Rule what the pro teams might do is look into buying spots off new teams or failing teams particularly if there are no teams in S-P that are in the same geographical region. It does me little to no good if I'm not in control of my program top to bottom and that means my developing future pro players. Teams will either cherry-pick talent or develop their own programs.

I don't think things are bad either per se but I also don't see the current process as being the solution to the classification and ranking issues that do exist. Raehl is going to do a search for me when he gets a chance of D1 ranked players. It will be interesting to see how many there are. The follow-up would be interesting as well; D1 ranked players that never appeared on a D1 roster.

Baca Loco said...

What they yearn for is what they recall as the simplicity of those earlier times. Give me the Aston Martin I can tinker on in the garage. :)

C said...

If the economy is as bad as everyone says, and the industry is in as much trouble as everyone says. (I don't really agree) Then your information you find from the searches need to take this into account.

Even in my area, even my own team is saying there are not enough D1 players in the area to form D1 teams. Well the fact is that's totally false, not only does our region have 1 D1 team, we have 2. There was also an Open team (who are all D1) prior to either of us ever hitting D1. And prior to that there were a hand full of people who were on PbFanatics / Twisted Revolution that would also be ranked D1 now.

You just need to make things happen, that is all. The FL teams crying about not being able to play D1 have more D1 players then we do down there I am sure.

And as far as your outcome on Semi-Pro I have had the same thoughts, it would almost be required that the top 2 teams in Semi-Pro bump up to pro, the bottom 2 teams in Pro drop to Semi-Pro and the top 2 teams in D1 move to Semi-Pro and the bottom 2 teams in Semi-Pro move to D1.

I do not see any other way to lock the number of teams in a division long term if you do not permit players to drop down.

Baca Loco said...

The economy is going to get worse. As for Industry I am inclined to think s fair portion of their problems were self-inflicted but there is no doubt there is trouble there too and one of the things the Big Boyz are likely to do is try harder than usual to keep new guys out of the loop out of fear of the shrinking pie.

As you note there are plenty of players--all over. The principle deficit is in leadership. Guys making the transition from playing to running teams. Ten years ago the demographic was of older guys willing and able to do both. With xball skewing to a younger player they tend to be more dependent so we've got plenty of players but fewer and fewer peeps for them to play for.

Or look for pro expansion to some larger number. But ultimately you're likely correct.

Anonymous said...

Now I REALLY do LOVE you. You singled me out for attention.

FYI - there are very few people to keep out of the "loop". It appears more and more like a noose lately.

As much as I share your opinion of the masses, they may not be as smart as they think. But most people urge to survive corrects their stupidity.

Anonymous said...


When will a sense of urgency reveal itself?

I keep waiting for that. It keeps not being today.

Baca Loco said...

I'm not a mind reader but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
With respect to my current crusade that will happen when the present plan can no longer be seen as progressing.
Big Picture there's plenty of urgency whether it's apparent or not. And I think that applies to both camps. On the PSP side they've got the same anxiety the rest of us do but they are closer to the pointy end of the stick dealing with hard numbers and real dollars daily. Everything they've been doing from the UPBF to the UCP are all intended to be elements of a larger plan.
From the other camp I think the scale of the venture is finally being seen for the daunting task it has always been and what may have seemed like plenty of time two weeks ago is rapidly becoming a whirlwind of where did the days go?

And of course fear tempers action so plenty of urgency may be felt without being acted on. Look at how much hasn't been decided yet--mostly because everybody is a'skeered.

Baca Loco said...

As long as you keep a respectful distance we're good. ;)