Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Major League Paintball Held Hostage: Weekly Update

In order to spice things up a bit here's a link to the Erin Andrew's peephole video. What, it's not working? What do you mean there is no link? Wow! Those Google guys are fast.

Okay, how 'bout we do things in reverse order instead? That should be pretty exciting, right?

The Grand Tour held their Graz Austria event last weekend and were rewarded with a torrential downpour on Saturday for their trouble. The rains left standing water inches deep everywhere. The organizers are claiming victory over the weather--unlike the MS in Malaga--but no scores are posted so I don't know if they managed to complete the event or not. I was told the organizers responded quickly and made alternative arrangements and seemingly did everything they possibly could. But forget the tournament, did the rains wash out the beach party?
I'm reminded of the typical German tourist in Florida. You can spot one a mile away. Close-cropped haircut, sunburned ears, expensive jewelry including big watches worn to the beach, skin tight T-shirts, short shorts (by American standards) and dress socks with sandals. Not that I'm passing judgment. It's just amusing.

Things are quiet in Millennium land as there is no event until the end of September and there is very nearly no registrations yet in the unlocked divisions. There is a team-based effort underway to push the MS to find a fair alternative to their having given reffing points to D1 teams for an open event that nobody else in the division could "score" series points in. Good luck to them but I'm not holding my breath. The largest reason the MS can operate so cavalierly at times is because there is a history of teams and players refusing to stand up for themselves.

The USPL's West Coast Open will be held this weekend. This is the league's second event of the season. The numbers and turnout have to be considered disappointing after such a long lead-in period and a Cali venue but depending on the number of vendors present and the deal the league made with SC Village it is conceivable they may come out of it a modest net plus. That is the happiest face I can put on it using speculative numbers. It also appears, looking at registrations, that the "success" of the WCO is holding the DC Challenge hostage as well. there are a decent number of teams signed up but few have paid and it looks like everyone is waiting to see what happens.

The PSP is gearing up for World Cup and making a big effort to make the transition from Disney to Fantasy of Flight as seamless and easy as possible for the few (if our VFTD poll was representative) who were put out by the change. So far there are 177 teams registered with nearly a month to go before the first entry fee deadline.
Fields that rely on tourney players practice are already anxious to see the WC layout released as most of the teams won't come out until they have the field available to them.
In checking the registrations earlier I noticed the entry fee disparity between pro and semi-pro. (How I missed it before I don't know. Maybe it's the new bifocals.) There's a fat G's difference between the two divisions which seems to me pretty substantial considering semi-pro gets the same number of games and also plays Race2-7 on the same fields with the same refs (except Wednesday in Chicago) and also gets some webcast love. The obvious answer to this will be the prize packages. However the pro package continues to shrink and as a percentage of entries it isn't even close with S-P getting back over 50%. Don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating some equivalent formula. What I am suggesting is falling back on the prize package is just an excuse and not a very good one. You see, in the past the league always justified the entry fees the pros paid on all the added expenses of running a special field with more refs and a fancy scoreboard and so on. As if we were demanding all that stuff.
The other thing I found curious was the entry disparity in 5-man (Race2-2). D3 pays more (than the other divisions) no matter which days you play and D4 pays more to play their prelims on Saturday compared to playing them on Friday. At first glance this looks like a move to engineer registrations. I'll be addressing this in another way in tomorrow's follow-up post to 'A Measuring Stick.'


Joe R said...

Re: RaceTo-2 Registration Sessions
(Please note that the following is my PERSONAL opinion and interpretation of the session pricing), not necessarily an explanation

From a logistical point of view, more of the RaceTo-2 teams would prefer to play saturday/sunday instead of friday/sunday. Less days off work, 1 less day of travel, 1 less day of lodging costs, 1 less day of rental car (if needed), et al. It is of considerable more value to most from this point, and is valued as such.

Also consider the normal event schedule. RaceTo-4/5 have friday off (except D3 Ochos iirc) to make room for the larger group of RaceTo-2. On saturday now, we have all of the post-prelim play, where we want to devote some additional attention to those teams that already advanced versus the teams still in prelim play. Should teams just have the choice between the two days without a monetary consequence, there would not be enough field space, time, or staff to handle the additional number of teams.

Basically, I'd look at the difference this way: PSP is not charging extra for playing the saturday session, they're giving you a discount to play the Friday session.

anonachris said...

Joe R, I was with you until that last silly line about getting a discount to play on Friday. The simple fact is, if the PSP can offer a product (saturday-sunday play) that has more value for its customers it is not only reasonable but expected for the PSP to capture some of that value with a higher price.

This is what a good company does. Makes a product with value, charges more to some customers than other customers for the same basic product depending on how valuable it is to each.

In fact the PSP needs to be doing this more. Finding things people value and are willing to pay for and making a product out of it that people will pay for.

Baca Loco said...

Don't disagree but that fails to explain D3 being higher than D4 or D2 regardless of day (except of course they expect more D3 registrants.) Then there's the matter of Friday having an assigned ceiling to registrations but none for Saturday.

You mean like producing classification rules that push peeps almost immediately up into divisions they can then charge more for even if the players are getting the same amount of paintball?

anonachris said...


If you really think that is what I meant, well.... providing a valuable service that people are willing to pay for is certainly not the same thing as forcing someone up the ladder and charging them more.

The simple fact does remain that within the PSP there is a group of players with a low willingness to pay. And a group of players with a high willingness to pay. They both ultimately get a pretty similar product. The PSP would be wise to find other areas they can target some of their customers in to offer valuable services/products.

This has nothing to do with taking advantage of people. The PSP offers a service that X% find valuable, and Y% pay for it if they want it.

I would agree that the move-up or move-out classification is clunky at best.

Baca Loco said...

No, Anonachris
I didn't think that's what you meant but you're talking generalities. Got any specifics?

anonachris said...

What you want me to play consultant for the PSP? I just critique and pontificate online. Never give away your best ideas for free.

Joe R said...

Although you mentioned this in your original post, I'd assume it goes back to logistics to explain why D2 entry is less expensive. D3 vs D4 is easily explainable; D3 teams will get, in general, the better set of refs and have access to a slightly higher prize package compared to D4. D2 I assume is the same way; smaller group, smaller payout, less requirements from PSP logistically, therefore they pay less money.

It's six of one, half a dozen of the other. My explanation allows the price difference to be more easily justified to a perspective customer. Your explanation is more justifiable as a business decision to owners. Either way it accomplishes the same goal. I actually had in my first draft of the post that statement worded as you did.