It's that time again. Where I bore you senseless (not always that long a trip) with the numbers as VFTD attempts to track the vitality of big league tourney competition.
But before I get started mark your calendars because I have a prediction for you. This is one you will not want to remember but will hope to be able to throw back in my face at a future date. Conflicted? It gets better. Or worse, depending. Warning: Do NOT read this prediction if you suffer from depression, occasional thoughts of suicide, drug-induced paranoia or if you listen to emo music.
Prediction: Next season, 2010, MLP will be at greater risk than it is/was this year, and I'm not convinced that surviving 2010 will get us over the hump either.
This week over at the PSP Chicago registration is up to 187 with 77 teams paid. That is a solid improvement over last week and, I think, a positive sign. The league continues to work the phones hard trying to drum up vendor participation but it remains an uphill struggle.
On the WC front it would appear that an Orlando venue may be close to being a done deal. This is just speculation on my part but I do know a couple of things that most of you probably don't. (I wonder if I'll get an irate phone call later today.) Do not, in any case, buy your plane tickets just yet.
The May deadline came and went for registration and early payment for the USPL's West Coast Open. Registered teams is up to 59 with 16 paid (not including the pro teams.) That means only a few teams took advantage of the largest possible discounts on their entry fees but lesser discounts remain available and it's hard to quantify where the savings versus the very early payment balances out given that the event isn't scheduled until mid-July. There is still plenty of time to get signed up but it's hard not to look at this as something of a referendum on the viability of 7-man as a major league format going into the future. Next week's Monday Poll will be about the 7-man format.
The Millennium Series staged their second event of the season at Bitburg, Germany last weekend with a total of 116 teams participating compared to the 151 teams at Malaga. Final results for Malaga in the locked upper divisions will not be complete until the Paris event in July. In the open divisions the numbers were down in Germany by 32 teams; 80 D2 & M5 combined in Malaga with only 48 combined in Bitburg. Curiously, there are 27 registered teams in D1 but in both Malaga and Bitburg only 24 D1 teams played. Does that mean, like last year, there are 3 teams each event reffing instead of playing? And how are they chosen? Do they still pay a licensing fee to get a D1 spot so they can ref?
The next Grand Tour event in the Central Conference is scheduled for the end of June in Lviv and there are currently 32 teams registered. That's up 2 over last week.