Interestingly much of what most paintballers know about the pro teams and their paintball heroes they get second hand. Players and teams are featured in ads, catalogues and promotional videos produced and disseminated by their sponsors. Bigger, more powerful sponsors generally means higher profile and more promotion. The magazines did (or probably still do) make an effort to feature photos of sponsored teams for their advertisers. They also feature popular players as guest (or regular) writers and the subjects of interviews and other kinds of features like How-To's. The players promote their teammates and friends and it quickly becomes a reinforcing cycle for those who get an inside track. Toss in the stars of assorted paintball videos and event DVDs etc. and pretty soon a player can be famous for a particular 5 seconds of action seen thousands of times by fans who know virtually nothing else about the player. Until a magazine does a feature based on the video's popularity and round and round it goes.
The next obvious question is: is it a chicken and the egg thing? Is the media Cali-centric because that's where the best-of-the-best are or does the paintball world believe that's the truth because most of the media is/was Cali-based or grew out of relationships where people talked about, supported and promoted their friends and teammates? Or another way of putting it is this: does the media make paintball stars or do the stars attract the media? Clearly, to my mind, it isn't an either/or kind of proposition as, I think, there is some truth to both sides of that particular coin.
I can tell I'm losing some of you. It seems a self-evidently weak case and besides, if you follow the logic, I'm sorta suggesting that all the fanboys and general paintball fanatics are having their opinions formed for them and it's a much more comfortable thought to think one's opinions are correct and that's why your heroes get the lion's share of attention. (Hate those unintended consequences.)Case in point; the PSP All-Star contests. What better measure can be offered up for the relative equality of the top players? To date there have been 3 All-Star match-ups where the East played the West 3 matches for bragging rights. The first two years the East won the first two matches at each All-Star event with the West maintaining their dignity by winning the third. Last year the two sides split the first two matches and the third went to overtime with the East being victorious once again. And even if you discount the first All-Star event because some of the West players were at less than their best the overall results speak for themselves. Have those results changed anything? Not really.
However it all shakes out, whether it's really and East coast, West coast thing or just the way things worked out without anybody giving it much thought along the way I find it pretty nearly undeniable that the Left Coast Bias exists.