Following is the Lane Wright interview. It doesn’t cover all the questions submitted nor even all the questions I wanted to ask him. With respect to the questions I avoided those that were purely speculative or hypothetical, for the most part. Or fluffy. Definitely no fluff. Or any fishing or baseball questions. In general I focused on Lane’s role with the PSP and secondarily, tourney paintball. This interview was handled as a series of questions submitted by email with a follow-up via phone for clarifications and to harass Lane a little bit on those questions he preferred not to answer. I've broken up the interview into sections to accomodate the ADD crowd. All the questions and answers are included without additional comment.
11. There is a growing sentiment in some quarters that now is the time for the PSP to strengthen and expand regional relationships in the 5-man and Race to format (ie; NEPL,WCPPL, Vicious Series becoming their regions 'CFOA'). Do you share that broad sentiment? And is that something the PSP can and should do?
It’s in the works. But again, in these financially strained times, even cooperative minded people are having a hard time taking risks. For any relationship to work, both sides have to concede. Right now, it’s hard for people who are barely staying above water to concede anything – PSP included. But I am working with several other leagues to come up with a plan that works for us all.
12. Even if your time table is different how do we get there from where we are now? Is the idea of the UCP a part of this process?
I believe the UCP will ultimately play a huge part in the process. It can be the binding that ties it all together. If I “knew” how to get there, we would be there. I have ideas. I listen to others ideas. Several of us are trying to do a type of loose think tank deal and will meet after the season to attempt to put together a plan.
13. Okay, enough of that for now. Using the high-powered NFL sports model ... they are constantly tweaking rules and making adjustments to keep their sport current with the type of players who populate their game. Do you have a particular rule change(s) that you personally would like to see implemented within the PSP?
Personally, I think there are too many bunkers and the guns are still too fast. People who say slowing the guns down slows the game down are ignorant. Do I think those are things the PSP should jump up and do? No. But, personally, I think it would make the game a lot more intense. I want this to be a sport. Not guys out playing with their toys.
I think the scoring needs to be addressed. I won’t elaborate, but you know what we are dealing with. I am a big opponent of anything that makes the game slow. No harm intended, but as good as Strange’s results were some years ago, I couldn’t stand to see them play. It was mind numbing. We have a point structure now that makes teams HAVE to play a boring game. They’d be foolish not to in some cases. That has to be fixed.
Other than that, I’m not a big rules guy. I want to keep it fun. Keep it fast paced and exciting. And have good enough reffing for the best team to have the best chance to win. If all that happens, and my company finds a way to make it financially beneficial to work as hard as we do, then I’m happy.
14. And now for something completely different. Do you see the webcast as a viable income generator for the PSP and is there a long term strategy in place?
It’s a great idea at a terrible time.
The webcast is awesome. Its potential is limited only by finance. The web is the new TV. Chasing TV now is completely idiotic. Anyone chasing TV is looking for some type of self promotion or something, I just don’t get it.
Yes. I absolutely see the webcast as an income generator. I simply don’t know if we will be able to fund it long enough to get there.
15. If so, how’s it going to work?
Ideally we have so many people tuning in that Doritos beats my door down with a huge check to capture our audience. The problem is that in order for those views to be high, we need to make it free. We charged $5 at World Cup last year and lost 67% of the viewers from the free day. Those numbers have to be high. So we want to make it free to watch. The issue we have is that we can’t afford to keep it going without charging people. I guess we could afford to keep it going if we skimp out on quality. That’s not an option for me though.
It’s tough. I think it could be the eventual life blood of the league and the sport. I don’t know if I can figure out how to maintain it long enough for that to happen.
16. One of the coolest features of the webcast this year is the expanded role of player statistics. However, other than the broadcast fans and players don’t have access to them. Are there any plans to make them available for fans and players to follow throughout the season? To expand and perhaps include Semi-Pro? Or even expand the range of statistics kept?
There are big plans for the stats. That’s all I can say. HUGE plans for the stats. But I promise. It won’t come quick enough for most. We’re gonna do it right, not right now.
17. Switching to sponsorship questions you mentioned in a recent conversation that the PSP decision to restrict vendors to principally manufacturers hasn’t had the effect you expected. Does that mean the subject will be reconsidered in the off season? Could we see a return to past practices or something different, perhaps some sort of compromise policy?
It didn’t work. All it did was cost PSP about $50K this year in revenue. It is already being rescinded.
18. The Doritos name was on prominent display in Chicago. Can you tell us a little about this as it relates to potential sponsorhips going forward?
No. I cannot.
19. Given the important role in supporting the league sponsorship has had in the past does the PSP have any ideas for how to replace that income? What sort of priority will that subject have this coming off season?
It will absolutely have to be discussed. This business is here to provide tournaments for competitive paintball teams. That is the first and foremost objective and will be for as long as I am in charge of operations. But the fact is that the sponsor monies are NEEDED to make it happen. So their concerns have to be addressed. Right now, their concerns are that they can’t afford to sponsor us. Not that they don’t want to. They can’t!
That loss in revenue doesn’t equate to a loss in expense. That money has to come from somewhere if the operation is to continue as it has been. The other option is to scale back operational costs. Less refs, less expensive venues, changes to the format to make it more affordable to run, etc. Some of those things took place during the last off season because I do have my finger plugged into the industry. We lost a good deal of sponsorship money this year. I made changes to off-set that. At some point, the changes become too much and the only option is to charge more.
There may be another option with the feeder/affiliate league thing I am working on. It could be a revenue generator for PSP. That’s not something that I have total control over, so I am certainly not counting on it.
20. If there are no replacement dollars for lost sponsorship what does the PSP do? Would the league consider raising entry fees?
It has to be considered. No one WANTS to charge people more money. If there are increases it is because that is what was needed to make ends meet. Period.