Wednesday, August 26, 2009

PB Extravaganza vs. World Cup

This isn't as silly as it may sound. At least not to dealers, manufacturers and retailers. And given the timing it's actually an unavoidable conclusion. (Though I did hear thru the proverbial grapevine that Dave D. was/is unconcerned about the impact Extravaganza might have on Cup. Which strikes me as an error in judgment but it's not my dime on the line. And will almost certainly benefit his company, if not the PSP.)

Here's the thing: World Cup has long enjoyed a big turnout of vendors along with buyers and has been known as the place to be in order to get a first look at next year's gear. Extravaganza is going to undercut that role and it's going to put established industry leaders ahead of the curve in terms of selling the new lines and getting them into retail hands earlier than before. So as it stands Extravaganza makes sense for the established brands and it pre-empts the possibility of some flashy new gear stealing everybody's thunder. The big players get a release date they can take advantage of and first shot at the available dollars of the retailers. It's cheaper too. So if you're a paintball name brand with an ability to pipeline product to an established network Extravaganza in advance of Cup is a no-brainer that may even help undermine or keep out of play any of those snot-nosed start-up types or struggling companies looking to make their mark.

On the other hand if you're relatively new to the scene or are still trying to grow a market for your products you really need to go to Cup, don't you? Your issue is building customer interest and using that to get retailers to stock your products. You need to be seen by the end users, the players. You need to hopefully generate some buzz to help get your gear off the ground and into more players hands. In a tight economy retailers keep less inventory and only want to carry what they know will sell. That makes it doubly difficult to become an industry player or a bigger player.

The result is this positioning of Extravaganza puts both the little guy and the PSP in a bind. Does the little guy attend both because they can't afford to be left out of either one or does the small business have to pick and hope it chose wisely? Cup was the one event of the season where the new rules restricting vendors wasn't expected to have too deleterious an impact and now Extravaganza is stepping in to steal away some percentage of the expected Cup vendor turnout. We've already seen the threadbare vendor rollouts at this season's other events; if the same or something similar happens to Cup it will diminish the event and continue the process that is seeing a long established revenue stream for the league continue to dry up. Given prior claims for the essential nature of sponsor/vendor dollars to the league's overall health this is probably a bigger deal than it may seem at first blush. And is also emblematic of the league's need to find new ways to market itself in a changing environment with much less room for error.

4 comments:

Missy Q said...

I for one will only be able to go to one. I havn't decided which, but I knwo it won't be both, and it's not a simple decision, especially when you look at costing them out next to each other...

franktankerous said...

If the extravaganza is a hit it might help the industry become a top down market again. The manufacturers make a good product and they make it profitable for the retailers. The retailers see their options and put profitable merchandise in their stores. The customers buy the products available to them and the stores start making money again.

Sure the retailers won't get a chance to use cup as a measuring device for the trends of what really is the hottest item, but PSP's pricing was just getting out of hand for the vendors and it is way to close to the holidays. Once a product is released at Cup it usually takes another month to get it into stores which is way to late.

I really hope the extravaganza takes off. It might even force retailers to learn what their customers want.....

Israel said...

Maybe PSP can get vendors to commit to launching specific items at at World Cup onlym this will let vendors release new items at Pb Extrava, but also keep some stuff top secret until Cup...?

Missy Q said...

Keep things a secret from the valued dealers that made the trip to Atlanta to see your new line?
Call me 'old fashioned', but I think that may piss off some dealers.

Pissing off your dealers is a bad thing...

...unless you don't care about your dealers, and just want to provide players with a nice surprise.