Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Association of Paintball Field Operators

Perhaps the one thing everyone can agree on is that the local field is the portal into paintball for the new (or prospective) player. And as such the outcome of that first paintball experience is (or ought to be) of prime importance not only to that individual field operator but also to PBIndustry, other field operators, store owners and even, according to conventional wisdom, all true sportsmen of the paintball variety.

The following is not a new idea. It is, in fact, an old failure of an idea. At least past efforts to implement this idea have been a failure. But the idea remains a good one. Perhaps even a necessary one and it may be that only in difficult times for the industry as a whole that this idea has any real hope of being supported, not out of foresight but out of desperation. At any rate the inspiration (and credit) for this post goes to one of VFTD's Euro correspondents who brought the subject up in a conversation the other day. And, as it struck me as both self-evident and timely, it was perfect for a post. (Possibly one of many as I so enjoy repeating myself.)

The idea is the post title; the (formal, organized) association of paintball field operators. But not like the CFOA or the Norcal variety which are tournament series. More of a PSTA-like organization for field owners in order to provide assistance for individual operators as well as operating standards designed to assure that members are best positioned to draw and retain new customers. (It is my understanding the PSTA intends to act in something like this capacity, at least in part, but that doesn't negate the potential value of an association completely focused on promoting paintball fields.) In addition, should the association ever gain widespread participation it would have the ability to act on a universal basis that is beyond the local field in a variety of diverse areas like marketing and insurance. A strong association would also be a position to act proactively on behalf of its individual members. It's a big idea with big potential and almost limitless benefits.


Reiner Schafer said...

I think it's a tough sell. Formal and organized are two words that unfortunately I don't associate with many field owners. Would I like to see them more formally organized? Absolutely.

There are several hurdles I can think of in organizing field owners. First, how do get in touch with them? Both of my competitors for instance don't spend much time cruising the internetz. They both buy from secondary wholesalers (who would not be members of PSTA, except possibly as retail members). There would be hundreds of field owners out there in similar situations.

Second, most, if not all, field owners have entrepreneurial inclinations. That means in general, they like to run things the way they see fit, not the way someone else tells them to do things.

I've met many field owners that don't seem to be very smart (I might throw myself in that category, I know some others would throw me in there). They aren't going to see the advantage to join, pay membership dues, change their ways, in the hopes of bettering things as an industry. They are going to want to see direct advantages, advantages that make things better for them almost immediately. Am I sounding pessimistic enough yet? I really wish I didn't as I think the advantages of minimum standards (preferably mandated) among fields is a great idea. I just see it as very difficult to attain. Realistically, who out there is going to want to take on such a monumental task?

paintball sniper said...

couldn't hurt to get everyone together and on the same page

Baca Loco said...

I agree with you completely Reiner, and I suspect many of the reasons you posed are reasons the last effort failed. Initially it might have to be done on the back of an organization like the PSTA to support it until had a chance to build a working base.

Anonymous said...

kind of related,is it just me or is there an excess of fields in socal? This might not seem like a bad thing but I think the teams and players are spread too thin through all of them
just look at the socal thread on pbn
2 new fields (tombstone and exile) will open up in november, in addition to the 5-6 other fields already open (ASG, Pendleton, Velocity, SC, HSP, Gecko, and more?)
Seems like this Association would help with this

Reiner Schafer said...

Not too many fields in Socal. Just not enough players. ;)

I'm not sure if a field owner association would put a stop to new entrpreneurs wanting to enter the market. The only thing it might do is put some barriers in place that might make it a little harder to enter the market and thereby eliminating some that probably shouldn't be entering the business in the first place.

raehl said...

I Think SoCal has too few fields for the population base. The market has just been decimated by years of the worst of the worst behavior (mostly speedball, mostly high rate of fire, mostly cheap paint). If you want to see a test case for how to kill tournament paintball in an area, SoCal is it.

Reiner Schafer said...

From the research I've done I would tend to agree with you Raehl. If I were more adventerous and didn't like my little corner of the world so much, Socal would be one place I would be looking at to open a rec field.