The Millennium Series, impeccable masters of timing that they are, announce a confirmed Germany event date (but not a location) in the aftermath of a massive riot police raid of an indoor German tournament this past weekend and with no fanfare and even less surprise announce the introduction of 50 cal as a legal paintball for series event use. The letter sent to teams can be seen here on the P8ntballer website. As discussed here (at VFTD) one of the MS owners, Laurent Hamet, was (and is) a proponent of the 50 cal paintball. One interesting question is why?
The Millennium kids tell us why. "As a result we will open up our events to new companies ..." New sponsors prepared to pay. Of course they also say, "There is a growing demand to allow other calibers to participate in The Millennium Series ..." So I guess we are left having to pick and choose what's true and what isn't. Unless you've heard or been part of the growing demand to allow other calibers--in which case please fill me in 'cus I missed it. All kidding aside this sort of, let's call it hyperbole, is the stock and trade of paintball promoters and industry and anyone who has been around the competitive game for any time at all knows how this particular game is played. Now nobody with a modicum of sense begrudges either industry or promoters a profit -- unless of course they are delivering a shoddy product. (I'll leave deciding that part up to you.)
What concerns me about this move is a couple of things. One, it opens the door for the other big leagues to make the jump and "blame" their acquiescence on the other guy. "Hey, would Millennium allow this if it wasn't okay?" And, Two, as far as I know there still hasn't been any definitive effort made to test the 50 cal balls against the current ASTM standards. On that basis alone the safety issue is an unknown.
Beyond that just how are the two calibers going to be integrated? If 50 cal performance is inferior at "normal" velocities is the MS gonna allow higher velocities for the small ball? Can a 50 cal team carry twice as much paint as a 68 cal team? The questions are almost endless. But my biggest question is -- Does anybody responsible for this decision actually give a damn about competitive balance and fairness? On its face it sure doesn't look like it.