This is the first MLP update of the new year with 'Major League Paintball on Suicide Watch' taking the place of last year's 'Major League Paintball Held Hostage.' Admittedly '... on Suicide Watch' is probably hyperbole (mostly) but unless you're an economist with the Fed or one of the banks "Too Big To Fail" you already know it's gonna be another tough year with not much margin for error. And while it's too soon to pass judgment it's not too soon to be pessimistic--or optimistic depending on what outcomes you're looking for, I suppose. (That whole glass half full thing, you know.)
Kicking things off is the PSP--which I'm not really gonna talk about here because there's just too much going on, with more to come. Both the new classification system and unified format plans merit their own posts (which will be coming in the next few days.) Otherwise, the PSP appears to be grabbing necessity by the scruff of the neck and making moves for the present and the future to secure the league's position as the premier example of tourney ball as sport.
On a related subject, the recent war of words between Brimstone Enterprises and Adrenaline Games was just the beginning. It hasn't been resolved and it won't be left hanging indefinitely and retains the potential to draw the league(s) in. (More coming on this too.) And for the first time the PSP & MS share a field pack for 2010 with an identical set of bunkers with the exception of the PSP's half X and Millennium's M which, I imagine, makes things easier for Adrenaline Games.
The USPL is dead (apparently), long live the NPPL! No, the USPL didn't go anywhere (yet) it just changed its name--like if Chad Ochocinco changed his name back to Johnson sorta deal. Or if Carnival built a brand new cruise ship and decided to call it the Titanic for the name recognition value--but that's probably just me. The NPPL has dates and venues, it's teams and sponsors that are hard to pin down right now. Nobody knows for sure how many pro teams there will be yet although the league recently took the novel approach of seeing if it could negotiate some sort of league sponsorship for paint that would provide paint for the pro division. No word on the particulars yet. In the meantime United took the Rage route of ownership without participation, at least for 2010. (Does that mean they have to pay even if they don't play?) Internally the league tally of pro teams seems like wishful thinking as a number of teams being counted as in remain on the fence.
With APPA out and Frank handling registration the current website has no way (I could find) for teams to see who is signing up and registered for the HB event scheduled for April. I'm guessing they can't let that stand but then at some point we'll see real numbers and if I were a betting man I'd play the under compared to HB last year--which would be disastrous.
Over in Euroland the MS has reduced entries in the SPL, D1 & D2 by removing the prize packages in those divisions. While being counter-intuitive it is par for the Millennium course. They've also added a D3 which will be playing Race 2-2 while M5 remains an entry level 5-man format. The MS has kept its 5 event season schedule but will not be including an "open" event this year. While the MS and PSP get closer in some ways the Millennium is not following the PSP's lead regarding restrictions on yellow. The locked divisions (CPL, SPL, D1) remain locked--so far--and it will be interesting to see if the number of teams in those divisions continues to slide from the less than maximum allotted slots of a couple of years ago. One of the Euro ballers' seasonal traditions is to moan about the Millennium, its poor public relations and general greediness combined with ineptitude. (Nothing out of the ordinary really.) But this year seems a bit different and I'm wondering if there isn't a spreading apathy instead. Hard to know from where I am, but I guess we'll see.
The Grand Tour isn't quite so grand as last year with a reduced schedule down to 5 events that doesn't kick off until early May. No info yet as to whether they will be continuing a pro division this year--which is the only reason they are included in the MLP updates. If they do VFTD will try to keep up.