Thursday, September 17, 2009

Here We Go Again

Spike will be airing the NRL playoffs and championship match starting tomorrow night. NRL is, of course, the National Rugby League but if you’ve never heard of it before don’t be too surprised. It’s not our National Rugby League (although there are a couple of U.S.-based rugby leagues. Who knew?) It’s coming to America from Australia. (How can they do that? I thought we had a monopoly on calling our leagues national. It’s very confusing.)

Rugby is apparently quite popular in Australia but how many people in the 100 million homes Spike reaches even know what rugby is much less how it’s played, what the rules are or, least likely of all, find it captivating sports entertainment? Heck, is it more popular in Australia than Australian Rules Football? Inquiring minds want to know because once upon a time during the dark ages of cable sports ESPN used to broadcast Aussie Rules Football in the middle of the night.

I suppose paintballers should have realized–and when I say paintballers I mean me–the position competitive paintball was in when you could watch Major League Lacrosse on basic cable. But rugby? C’mon! That’s like putting soccer on TV! Oh, wait, they do actually put soccer on TV, don’t they? I mean what does rugby have that paintball doesn’t? Other than stuff like an actual league, national federations, fans and somebody who talked some Spike executive into putting them on American TV. Other than that.

I’m gonna DVR it not because I’m particularly interested in rugby but I do want to see the commercials.


Martin said...

Rugby League - different to Rugby Union. Gets strange I know, but there ya have it.

As for popularity - depends on the area of Australia you're from. Aussie Rules is much more popular in the state of Victoria for example. League is very strong in New South Wales and Queensland.

Should be good for a laugh.

And it's not necessarily one way traffic. I'm pretty sure that Beyond the Paint has been airing on TV in Aussie lately ;)

Baca Loco said...

Hey Martin
They might as well have put badminton from Macoa on for all I care. I just find the state of competitive paintball occasionally frustrating and depressing--and rebroadcasts of Beyond the Paint down under won't change that. :)

Anonymous said...

I think the real questions are:
1) Who is footing the bill to bring it to Spike?
2) Has anyone thought of approaching someone at Spike about airing competitive Paintball?

I think the last time Paintball went on TV it was sabotaged by those who were trying to get it there, aka league owners/sponsors. Broadcasters don't need more immature player/owner/coaches telling them how and why they should be airing content on their channel. Oh and how popular it is that they should be paying a hefty sum to have the privilege to have Paintball on their Air. I think I just threw up a little. :)

I bet the Rugby people don't have near as much drama and politics as paintball does.

Anonymous said...

John I couldn't agree more about the less drama stuff. Rugby is a contact sport, they get most of their aggression out on the field. I know its nice to bunker someone or give some asshole a little extra love on his way off the field, but I can't imagine it being as satisfying as head butting someone or just plain dropping someone on the other team your not too fond of....

BTW baca I saw a few of the games. I didn't watch the commercials, but it couldn't have been as bad a 3 back to back spyder commercials or a really lame cartoon smartparts add for a secret gun that turned out to be a huge letdown(even for a low/mid level gun it sucked)....

Mark790.06 said...

I over heared some guys talking about paintball on TV outside the Pb Extravaganza the other day. They were saying that a scenario-syle thing would translate better as you see a tangable out come, in their example a hostage being rescued, other than a flag being hung or a buzzer sounding.

I listened, as I mostly do in industry level environments, I just don't have the hubris to voice an opinion. They made some good points until they chastised the other attempts such as the college airings, or the PSP webcast, but it went beyond their belief that those examples were simply less watchable and began to berate the fact that somehow important resources were being squandered because of it.
If their idea was better, and they seemed to believe it would sell, then sell it, I thought.

As far as rugby on TV and not knowing the rules or how it's played, or is the webcast watchable/does it make sense to the lay person, makes me remember back in the day when layouts were not released and we had to make them up week to week at our field. I would just start at the 50 and work my way out without really any thought to how it would play other than shot blockers and some interesting constructs out of cones and pok-e-mons for instance. I just figured that the player would figure out how to play it and they did.

So many people, mothers mostly, call my field having no earthly idea how paintball works. I begin with the talking points. Mostly things they may have an understanding about such as costs, length of the games, "no, we don't freeze the balls", stings like a towel snap. If they are still unsure how it works, I tell them that it will make a whole lot more sense once they see it in action.

If they just air something, consistantly, and perhaps show some variety e.i. flags and hostages, the people will figure it out. KISS!

raehl said...

Anyone who thinks resources are 'squandered' on the college shows has no idea just how little money we spend getting those things done.

Factoring in the internet, I think we end up with better viewership too.

JoeMalaka said...

Martin-league is also very popular in Europe as well, but in Great Britian its Union rugby.

johnb5487- rugby does have its drama.

Baca- there are 67,263 Register Rugby players you have to be register in order to play in competition with USA rugby, 50,370 are male and 16,893 are female.(These numbers can be found at or my opinion these numbers ar probaly low with the total number of people that play were they play pick up games or have not been registered with USA rugby yet. I would estimate any where from 100,000-110,000 actually play in the US.

The numbers have paintball players in the millions per year correct. Then why isn't paintball on tv and rugby is?(when most americans probaly coudn't tell you a thing about rugby) Is that paintball has 2 national leagues that can't even get what format paintball is played the same. Paintball has mutliple video games on multiple systems rugby has had a total of 2 video games both for the ps2. Paintball has had its chance to be great, and still could be these economic times the people in charge need to come together.

I quit competitive paintball after the 2008 chicago open. There was a situation with the one of the teams that we played,(it was a d3 5 man prelim game and there were more people on the sidelines than if it was a d1 semi final game)It disgusted me that people could act that way. There were other things that helped in my felling towards paintball. You have 16 year old kids dominating message boards and acting like they are gods gift to paintball and shooting those that are new/younger kids till they don't wanna play any more. They blaintly cheat. Cheating happens in rugby, but it is not in the way people cheat in paintball that changes the game. (sorry about my rant)

The bottom line is paintball needs to take care of some in house items before it ever worries about why it is not on tv, or why raehl's precious college paintball continues to be on.

franktankerous- the reward for rocking someone's world or making them look like a fool playing rugby is much more rewarding than bonus balling or bunkering someone in paintball.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I totally agree Joe. I think Paintball needs to get its proverbial House in order before it attempts to go out into the Real World and put itself on television again. There are very few people in this sport who I would say are Professionals in the Media sense of the word. Whether it be Executives, Media Buyers, Directors/Producers, Sports Producers. Most of the folks I meet are hobbyists turned Paintball media types or who currently work in media and lend their talents to Paintball from time to time. You can gripe about how they did it in the past or who were the ones doing it. Bottomline, you need to have people behind it whose motivations aren't tainted by their own personal agendas other than seeing the sport thrive.

As far as the NCPA show that Raehl put on, I had a hard enough time trying to find the show and when I did get a chance to watch it, it felt forced and did not hold my interest. Also short from seeing a few banner ads on PBnation, and a thread in the Paintball News section, you had to seek it out just to watch it. I am a big fan of production value. I feel that there is some validity in the argument, that in Paintball we rush things or don't seek out the proper individuals within our sport to make the image/style/representation of Paintball better.

I am also curious as to what the endgame for Paintball on TV is. Is it more awareness? Is it getting the attention of bigger sponsors? How do we measure if the show is a success or not?

If there is no clear motivation on why to do it other than just because, I don't think it needs to be on television. Even the Traumahead Sports show was listed as airing on TV and I spent a good few days trying to get an answer from someone on where I could watch the show short of the internet. I think if there were parties out there with the right connections and the right motivation they could have Paintball on the Air in under a year. It just takes the right mix of people who are committed to doing it and doing it right.
I mean give me a few talented camera people, 2 Segmen Producers, 2 Editors, a talented Visual Effects Artist, and access to the people and places in Paintball, and I can give you a half hour show worthy of Spike or Fuel TV. As far as selling the idea and marketing it to Broadcasters, that's not me. However I bet we have the people inside the Community we call Paintball that could do it. Again I think it all comes down to being able to work together for the betterment of Paintball.

Baca Loco said...

This is old ground that has been trod over and over but it's interesting to hear fresh takes every once in a while. Thanks all.

Joe, I hear ya. In the coaching era it has always amazed me how virulent some of the sideline activity gets especially in divisions where nothing really is at stake.

There have been some decent shows that returned decent numbers--they just never lit a fire under any potential big time sponsors. Some of them tried to be a little bit of everything, others tried to be match and action-oriented and all of them tried to toss in a bit of paintball information--with varying degrees of success as entertainment. Pat, Matty & the PSP are closing in on producing some pretty damn good live paintball and are, I think, demonstrating that most of the objections of trying to cover tourney paintball can be overcome.

Anonymous said...

If Lane's ultimate goal is to get the viewership up to attract a sponsor as underwriter for the webcast, maybe it's a good idea to try and repackage the webcast into a broadcast friendly package and that way get the most from their content. Basically a PSP version of what the NPPL did with the Florida show a few years back. That sounds like maximizing your content to me.

Reiner Schafer said...

I don't know. I really haven't got much of a clue about Rugby, but I bet it's a lot more interesting to watch than paintball.

I have watched many soccer games on TV. I have yet to watch a full TV show of paintball.

I've played competition paintball. I have never played competition Rugby or soccer

JoeMalaka said...

John- this is the greatest question I have heard in a long time, and good questions get people looking for good responses, and if they don't have a response it makes them think
"I am also curious as to what the endgame for Paintball on TV is. Is it more awareness? Is it getting the attention of bigger sponsors? How do we measure if the show is a success or not?"

Baca- the webcast Matty, Pat, and the PsP are putting on is spectacular, but what is the purpose of it? Wait I can answer that it is to show case there league and to make a case why people should play the psp and not something else. If I am wrong about that please let me know.

Anonymous said...

I think the Webcast is just that, a marketing tool for the PSP. The problem is how long is it sustainable without a large sponsor covering the cost beyond the league. Even Lane admits that it may not be able to be cost-effective before they can get it to a point where they could sell the idea to someone. You can throw all the money at it you want and make the best possible webcast to put out there. The things is your audience is limited unless you reach out beyond the boundaries of tournament paintball and seek new viewers. The tough part about that is that the tournament scene is so small compared to paintball at large so the economics of eyeballs vs dollars may never be there to make it cost effective. At that point you just call it what it is, a very cool marketing tool, and hope the league can afford to keep doing it.
I think Paintball gets too wrapped up in its own bubble sometimes when it comes to outside interest. They think their passion for the game should be able to translate out to anyone if they only knew what they see in the game. The problem is not everyone can readily understand the game by watching it and until they can get out their and play, they won't have a better understanding of why we enjoy it so much.

Baca Loco said...

For answers see Lane Wright interview part 2 questions 14 - 16.

houdini said...

lol I always find it funny when I hear American accents doing intros to Aussie sports... One thing to not is that the NRL is broadcast by Channel 9 one of the free to air channels in Oz and a media company that has plenty of reach internationally. I'd be interested to know which party,the NRL or the broadcaster set up the Spike media deal?

For those Stateside hopefully you'll get to hear some of the local commentators dish out their famous colloquial Aussie slang.

There's no reason why paintball can't be on TV - it just needs some producer pitching and selling an interesting package idea to media outlets for it to happen - I just doubt there is anyone out there doing this?

Mark790.06 said...

Amazingly, No BS, a guy brought his son into my store yesterday afternoon having recently seen the NCPA on FCS. A fleeting camera shot of our sign and hearing one of the few times Matty said "Lakeland, FL" got this man to my door. His son had a cast on his leg from playing football and wanted to check out the gun packages we had. I reached for the entry level stuff and early into my sales pitch he asked if it would be appropriate for tournaments. He dropped $350 on a gun, tank, and mask that his son won't be able to play with until the cast comes off.
Thank you Chris!
During the NPPL Miami airings we had a business owner who asked us for a price to run a tournament series for his 20 or 30 employees, but it seemed his interest ended when the airings did.
I know it costs a butt load of money for who ever lays it on the line, but it does help us little guys from time to time. And just as laughing at some kid showing up at a field with a Stingray, being overly critical of someones attempt at airing paintball is, in my opinion, counter productive.

Missy Q said...

You can't compare Paintball to Rugby, it's not too far from comparing it to Soccer, which was also a little-heard-of US sport that was massive around the world (until 8-10 years ago). Rugby has higher global appeal than American Football.
Rugby has drama by the bucket-load, it has an amazing example of how on-field reffing should be exercised (a small old man with a mic can give out whatever penalty he wants and the tough guys won't argue even once. They also don't bitch when they get punched in the face), and it is the main national sport of several large countries around the World. The 7's rugby world cup was held in LA 2 years ago and the stands were totally packed.
Most surprising is that Baca Loco is not a fan of Rugby. It's your kinda game I would have thought...

Mark790.06 said...

Fine Missy Q no comparison infered, my point is that I don't care just air the freaking thing!

Baca Loco said...

You've caught me out Missy. I know a bit more about rugby than I made it sound but I was making a point.
And who doesn't enjoy a good (legal) brawl? Even so I prefer a more intellectual form of mayhem; "real" football.

Missy Q said...

Intellectual game?
Don't make me laugh!
Have you heard a Rugby players interview? They are University Educated and typically are far more intelligent than the guy asking the questions. Now compare that to a 'Football' player's interview....

Also, Rugby players generally play the whole game (80 minutes) and so are expected to have both strength and stamina. Football players play 10 seconds then have to stop and catch their breath, while someone else (from a squad of 75 or so) goes in to give them a bit of time to recover. They have explosive power, but then they also have all that ridiculous padding. Take the padding away, give them some cardio, educate them to a 12th grade level, and they might make decent Rugby players one day.

Baca Loco said...

Let me guess--your Mama played rugby. Very spirited, Missy, but, alas, not actually on point. I gladly take your word for it that rugby lads are well educated because it's an utterly irrelevant point. As is the relative strength stamina or even virility argument. Football remains a vastly more complex game in terms of tactics and strategy which is of course what I was talking about.

Missy Q said...

Utter nonsense.
But it's your blog, so of course I'll allow you to continue to kid yourself. It would be rude not to.