Friday, December 11, 2009

ProPredictions 2010

In this the winter of our discontent ... VFTD interrupts the cheap theatrics (and other posts patiently waiting to be posted, like the next installment of Year in Review) for a sobering prediction or two. I actually thought about skipping this one but two things changed my mind. Lots of good sites tell you what's happening but who else will tell you what's happening before it happens? And besides, in a week when the EPA has decided we are all pollutant emitters for the anti-social, anti-environmental behavior called breathing it sorta puts things into perspective, doesn't it?

It turns out last year was just a warm-up. A hint of things to come--and it's coming. And what it is, is bad. PBIndustry struggled last year and has spent much of the off season trying to position itself in light of continuing hard times. Recent rumors on diverse industry fronts tell a tale of digging in in the hope of holding on. For VFTD purposes survival mode within the industry will hit the pro game especially hard. No one familiar with the situation expected things to turn around but I'm not sure many expected things to get worse--and possibly substantially worse. This will hit both team sponsorships and league sponsorship hard.

Last year the PSP began with 13 pro teams. In 2010 I now don't expect more than 8 although the PSP may see about pushing that to 10 by encouraging a team or two intending to play semi-pro to move up. There has been talk about trying to make the pro division more appealing so let's say the combined number of pro and semi-pro teams will total 15 to 18 with or without a NPPL. On the NPPL front I'm wondering if reality is finally settling in as industry players and teams keep putting off making decisions and/or commitments for the coming season. In any event there will not be 16 pro NPPL teams regardless of additions as we rapidly approach the point where Paintball cannot even pretend to support two major leagues. The only thing I'm uncertain about is if I'm being too optimistic.

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