Here it is July and I doubt anybody has much of an idea what comes next--except, hopefully, the rest of this season. For many that includes a hole the size of the PSP's regular fourth event. (I smell another Monday Poll question in there somewhere.) The PSP has leaped the third hurdle without too much seeming amiss. The USPL has yet to put on their second event. The MS has just completed their Open experiment and the Grand Tour may be about to have their biggest event of the season in the middle of July. On the surface the raw numbers seem to tell a tale of slow decline but it's impossible to say with any certainty what comes next. And who knows what, if anything, is going on behind the scenes to respond to the challenges of the future. Something surely, right?
The PSP will probably be fairly quiet for a while though one hopes we'll see the "missing" webcast matches at some point. I wonder if the failures in Chicago will set the whole effort back and I'm beginning to wonder if the new venue can be equipped to make sure WC doesn't repeat the Chicago problems.
The USPL situation just makes me scratch my head. From the beginning I didn't believe that the level of participation the league was projecting would prove accurate (or even plausible) but I wouldn't have predicted such a precipitous drop off either. I was (and am) convinced that xball captured the grassroots throughout most of the country but I didn't expect the apparent collapse of 7-man interest we're seeing. The WCPPL has probably siphoned off some teams but it wasn't that long ago (was it?) when the XPSL and NPPL peacefully and prosperously coexisted with plenty of teams to go around. Is it just a format failure or does it portend something bigger?
I don't know if the MS Paris Open can be considered a success or not. (Comments on this topic most welcome.) It was not a capacity turnout. Did the open format hurt? Will we see a decline in Campaign Cup? I'm wondering if attrition is a concern and if the locked divisions licensing fees have helped stave off possibly greater attrition. (I expect we'll see in the coming off season and/or in D2 and D3 where the option exists to not play. I would, btw, ascribe most losses to the economy.) On a more positive note everything about the event seems to have gone off neatly and the level of play appears to be quite high. Is the core of Euro competitive ballers closing the performance gap?
Let's talk Turkey. (Very lame. I should be ashamed.) The final event location has finally been formally announced but it wasn't exactly a deep dark secret. All indications are it's a prime location with the only questions marked related to the cost to the player.
Over on the Grand Tour the numbers for the Graz event (up to 46) could make it the biggest event of the season for the central European league.