Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Major League Paintball Held Hostage: Weekly Update

PSP World Cup looks to have come through the venue change and the inhospitable weather with nary a hitch and it seems fair to suggest this year's event was a major success. The largest group of vendors all year and what sounds like very good numbers rumored for the webcast. The PSP and competitive paintball in general have the realistic possibility of reaching more people; players, paintballers and the curious thru the webcast in one weekend than were actually present for all previous World Cups combined. Think big, PSP, & plan accordingly. The webcast is an unprecedented outreach tool.

NPPL 3.0 presents the USPL World Championships at the Riviera this coming weekend in Las Vegas and the final "official" numbers has 96 teams registered and paid for the event including 41 non-pro 7-man teams. While not a big turnout it's a respectable result and will bookend nicely with the HB event that kicked off the season. Clearly, despite the inauspicious timing the Vegas venue was a solid draw. Even so it remains to be seen how the pro owners evaluate this season and what changes if any may be forthcoming. And, realistically, how much debt the league will carry over. I am not sure the league is over the hump just yet but then I didn't really believe it was in a position to survive the first year.

Across the pond the countdown to the Sarsilmaz Cup is entering the final weeks with the event due in a little more than two weeks. Despite bolstered prize offerings D2 & M5 registrations continue to lag with fully half of the registered teams being local Turkish teams. There's time yet for the numbers to change but little reason to presume the original widespread unhappiness amongst likely MS participants has softened. I guess we'll find out.

The Grand Tour was downgraded last week to the Ordinary Tour and this week suffers another decline in the VFTD perception of viability as it is once more downgraded to the Marginal Tour. The season closing event in Greece has 15 teams registered in 3 divisions of play. Ouch.

11 comments:

Missy Q said...

the PSP had at least 14 staff working the webcast & stats, including 6 Stats guys. I hate to think of the overhead, especially as the stats are massively under-used. I think they have been remiss in not charging for it at the Cup, personally, and if they don't charge next year I don't see it as viable. Amazing product, but it needs to be at least partially self-funding to have any legs IMO.

johnb5487 said...

"The webcast is an unprecedented outreach tool.",
That isn't being marketed outside of Paintball. So then it just becomes something friends and family can use to watch the players. The claim it had 100k views is probably wrong as well being that every time I disconnected and logged in, I had to re-order to view it. Not trying to discount their views, but I still think their needs to be marketing outside normal channels to get the interest they need to make it successful.

Baca Loco said...

I'm with you, John.

Missy, I think what it needs to do is show more of an effect and that isn't so much about the product itself but what they do with it.

Crusificton said...

I think they should expand their commercials. By offering more vendors outside of Dye and Kee the chance to have commercials on it might be the best place to display your goods. I think a commercial would be more effective on the Webcast then in a Paintball magazine where there are 1 every 3 pages. At least you're guaranteed a minute to highlight your gear with mandatory attention from the viewer since they don't want to miss any matches.

Missy Q said...

100k? I heard 36k and knew immediately that was inflated.

Don Saavedra said...

This is not by any means an official answer, just a point of view from a point somewhere near the (but not actually at all) "inside."

It seems to me that 2009 was a test-bed year: find our limits, find potential problems and how to address them, find the potential audience and appeal, test new features to try and up the appeal, etc.

It's an expensive test, to be sure, but it's the only way I can figure that they've spent this much money and gone to all this trouble and still there has not been a "hard charge" to market and make available all aspects of what we've been working on. We let people know we have a webcast about a week or two before the event, we go through free or very inexpensive avenues for alerting people about the existence of the webcast, etc.

I'll let other people argue about whether this cautious approach is the right way to go, that goes a bit over my head. But my hope is that we've at least proven ourselves on those criteria and that we can produce a viable product going forward.

johnb5487 said...

Missy I believe one of the PSP wrap up e-mails I received had the 100k number in it.

As far as commercials, I believe Dye is a big underwriter on the webcast, but don't quote me, hence the Dye commercials seemingly running during the breaks.

Don I love what you and Patrick and the guys are doing and have done. I would love to see it continue not only for the future of the sport but for the work and avenues it provides for the folks behind the scenes. I just can't help but take a step back and look at it from an outside in perspective and ask the question Why would I want to watch and How is it being marketed to me (if I were a non-player or semi interested observer)? I am still asking myself what's it for? I enjoy watching it and love having it available either in a free form or a paid option. Either way I will be there to support. I guess until we answer what it is truly meant to be, and I may have missed it in the Lane interview, I think it can not be marketed and used as the tool we all want it to be or see it become.

Anonymous said...

The "World Cup Wrap-Up" that is posted on the PSP website and various forums around the web is where the 100k views number came from.

I'm positive that I alone accounted for 20-something views, as I logged out and back in at least that many times throughout the weekend. Since it is set-up to "buy" (for free) the service every time you log on, that's surely where they pulled those numbers from. Very much inflated and, frankly, b.s. Not sure who they're trying to fool with that, or why they are trying to fool people at all.

Don Saavedra said...

I don't have access to the numbers myself, but I do know that Lane and Co. are very aware of the difference between total views and unique views, and the unique views are the only ones he really cares about. 100k views over the weekend? It takes quite a few dedicated viewers to make that number, even if it isn't 100k unique views. So I'm proud of it.

I also know, from talking to the Satellite guy (they provide our internet access and their company also webcasts sporting events on their own) that our numbers have been extremely good this year. We never went in to specifics, but I got the impression we are getting a respectable audience- one worth trying to advertise to.

As for who or what the webcast is for? Isn't that obvious? It's for those who want to watch it. Was it a trick question?

johnb5487 said...

Okay for "those that want to watch it" are the folks inside the bubble. Can PSP afford to continue funding it without eyes from outside the bubble? Heck if PSP can afford it with the people they have watching it now, good on em. Don't worry about where you market it or how you produce it as long as the core audience you're shooting for is watching. Albeit this is all within the model of it being free to the viewer. If PSP can continue to pay for the caliber of Webcast they have now, and continue to keep it free, why even have the conversation. Done and done. Although I think we can all agree that is the not the end goal. The impression I got from the Lane interview was that it would take outside interest and outside support to keep it viable. Am I wrong?

Missy Q said...

no, you're not wrong, in order to be viable they need a considerable income stream. Hopefully they get it, because the product is so good, but I wouldn;t like ot be the one that was responsible for making it pay. Companies aren't big on advertising right now, and we've all seen what happens when you tell paintballers they have to pay for something, especially when it was free.
I think they have to charge asap. Numbers will start out slow, but they will build, so long as no-one caves. I would have charged for the WC footage - $5 per day ($9.99 for the finals day) or $12.99 to download the whole show 1 week later.