Tuesday, December 8, 2009

MLP '09: Year In Review

Intro to Venues Review
Venues, vendor villages and the general event experience separate from the competition are the subjects of today's review. The commentary on the MS will, of necessity, be limited since I didn't attend any of them. However, in following the MS this season and talking to players and others present at various events I think it's fair to say offered the best locations even if the German venue is well isolated and there were (mostly homegrown) some complaints about Campaign's location in (not in) Basildon. Otherwise it's hard to argue against Malaga, Antalya and EuroDisney outside Paris. Oh, I know, there's still plenty to find fault with and it doesn't begin or end with the MS. NPPL 2.0 had HB and Vegas baby but it also had SC Village--looking like the outdoor set of a direct to video post-apocalyptic zombie movie and Pev's place (a nice weekend rec field and/or local tourney practice facility) in rural Virginia. The PSP had ... um, generally pretty decent grass everywhere they played. And that's the issue in a nutshell.

What distinguishes a national (or international) event from a local or regional event? Or what should? In the early years of this decade venues were more than venues. There were markers in the competition between leagues and they were symbols that the dream was coming true. At least some thought they were. Instead they proved to be cries for attention. Now some of us are disillusioned, others have never known different and the big time paintball universe is changing again. Does a national (international) event need to be more than a large scale local tourney? If so, in what ways?

I was never a fan of the NPPL's stadium parking lot tour approach because I felt they were giving too little consideration to the playing surface and besides, it never worked--either to attract "fans" or investors. (That said, the first time looking out over the fields and taking in Mile High and the Denver skyline it was easy to believe paintball was oh so close.) But it did change the status quo and every one's expectations. Now there seems to be two distinct options when it comes to venues. One choice is to make the venue part of the draw while the other has focused on the utility of the venue in terms of the competitive environment. I don't think it needs to be one or the other but that seems to be the way things have evolved--at least with respect to U.S. based MLP.

Oops. Running long so the actual venue breakdown will have to wait for next time.

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