Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Major League Paintball on Suicide Watch

It's Tuesday so it must be idiotic post title day. Yay! (For the new kids the MLP weekly update was called MLP Held Hostage last year. See a pattern?) It may not always be sunshine and lollipops but the purpose of this recurring post is to keep tabs on the status on all the major leagues (leagues that feature a pro division) and for those who haven't been paying attention--competitive paintball is in flux and successfully navigating this difficult period is a demanding challenge. VFTD's contribution is to call shens when necessary and otherwise use mockery and ridicule to highlight the various leagues foibles--and because it's amusing. To work--

Not much to report on the not so Grand Tour. Their website (link down on sidebar) has some new info on the first event of their season in Venice and there is one team registered so far. On the bright side there's still two months to go.
UPDATE: GT kids have announced a 3-man xball lite (race to 3) division at a significantly lower entry. Does 3-man have a place as an xball format? Does 3-man have a place on an international stage?

Likewise in the Millennium Series--VFTD is now stalking them via Twitter and I can report the league is consistent in their general lack of communications. (Just the way I like it when it comes to Twitter.) Malaga is around 6 - 7 weeks out so numbers aren't overly important yet but there are still no locked division teams posted as registered while the open divisions have ticked up a team or two over the last week. How long can the league keep teams and sponsors in the dark with respect to their premier divisions? Additionally while more 50 cal gear appears to be available in Euroland VFTD has yet to hear of either a 50 cal sponsored team or word that any team plans to compete using 50 cal exclusively.

This past week the NPPL put out a press release announcing a live webcast press conference during which they announced they'd have a bunch more information available soon. Okay, it wasn't quite that bad but it was short on specifics and details including things like how many actual teams are actually registered in which actual divisions--but that information should be available soon. Regarding registered teams the "official" word is around 60 and Chuck added that most were paid or had put down a deposit or something. One bit of info that didn't make the webcast recap post is that the venue will be a bit closer to the pier this year while remaining on the south side and there should be room for up to 3 fields. The other thing I found of interest was Chuck's mention of feeder leagues. As noted in the recap post the RPL is a 5-man league but the other two leagues mentioned (I think--Chuck seemed a bit uncertain himself) were the NEPL and the GPL. Both have 7-man divisions. Last year GPL ran a truncated season of 2 events with 8 teams playing both and 5 teams playing one. NEPL runs a closed league that will max at 18 and currently has 13 teams signed up for 2010. If the NPPL survives how long will it be before there are more 5-man teams competing than 7-man?

PSP's second deadline for entry has come and gone and the final deadline of March 5th is less than two weeks away. 5-man registrations remain soft compared to last year. However, if everyone registered also paid total participation would nearly match last year. That's not the way it has worked in the past with some percentage of hopeful or frivolous registrations always swelling the numbers but seldom actually competing. The word has trickled out there will be no Phoenix webcast and while not official it is confirmed. Rumor has it there may be a Chicago and WC webcast but this has not been confirmed as far as VFTD knows. With respect to a post last week the league will take steps to address the issues raised. No final decision has been made but the tentative solution meets with my approval. I won't comment on details until I hear the final decision.


Tugais said...

I already posted this in the Monday Poll topic seconds before this article went online ... Here a copy of my original post :

"Well, in Euroland we just got an announcement about the first SPL team fully sponsored by GI Milsim and the .50 cal

Plus, tomorrow the TonTons are testing .50 on their field. Perhaps a switch for this CPL team as well.

Notice that these two teams have the same paint sponsor : Paintball Distribution - the only french dealer of GI Milsim products."

Baca Loco said...

need more info. :)

Anonymous said...

baca, what i know and heard, there's a lot semi pro teams suffering. some of them disapear, some merged, some ???
also heard about at least 2 CPL teams not competing this season due financial problems.
i think i heard some D1 teams got offered SPL spots just to fill this category.

Baca Loco said...

Hey Anon,
Hearing the same things. I just don't have enough solid info to name names.

anonachris said...

Tenative decisions run by you for approval eh? Co-opted at last!

Anonymous said...

Suicide "watch"? Wouldn't it be far more accurate to call it a suicide "warning". You know, like blizzards and floods- there's a difference between "watch" and "warning", and with the gun swallowing we're seeing, isn't it time to start crunching bones and making calls?

I love this site, but these assesments are unreasonably dull-edged compared to the bullet biting conditions of both the PSP and NPPL.

Where's da beef? The NPPL is spouting another year of lackluster promises and and the PSP can't help but sprint and completely deflate the concept of localized tournament structures effectively shooting themselves and the industry in the dick.

Idk, maybe something to consider?

papa chad said...

I think he means to look at paintball as an individual entity that might kill itself, not an incoming weather event. or whatever we're talking about.

anyway, my question here is "when will the NPPL be financially stable enough to make format changes without too much fear of dissolution?" I mean- will the next few years wane away at the format until it doesn't exist, or will the "team congress" take the risk to make a format that will become more popular than race-ball?

I still think "one league!" though, maybe I'm just biased a bit..

Anonymous said...

you want names:
not in SPL anymore: blackout - influence - daltons - notorious - vienna united - influence - sucy - reckless - hellwood

this are belgian, german, austrian, english and french teams.

also heard about some teams less in D1 - spanish, germans and frenchies....

Baca Loco said...

You lost me on that one. I get the punchline but I'm missing the joke.

Anon #2,
Or you could say that when a prisoner or patient is placed on suicide watch it is because they are showing active signs they may intend to harm themselves and the point of the watch is hopefully intercede should an attempt be made. :)

And contrary to (some) popular opinion I'm not out to bury anybody so I moderate my tone now & again. Personally I prefer biting sarcasm and a bit of ironic bludgeoning but it doesn't always come across as intended.

With respect to localized tourneys that is an interesting perspective. I'm not sure it's an either/or proposition but it is a competitive challenge. If you've more thoughts on the topic I'd like to hear them.

papa c,
The NPPL exists to promote 7-man. It's their moral high ground. If they give that up they're just another tourney series out for themselves because I doubt anyone with a functional brain cell or two buys into the by the players for the players line anymore.

Anon #3
That would be a third of last year's division which was already down from the division's max. Frankly it's about time. If the seriously disaffected teams had made an effort to cooperate with each other 2 years ago it might not have come to this.

Tugais said...

The news about the .50 cal sponsored team came from a Press release of the french SPL team "Boost Air" former Draxxus french team before the switch to GI Milsim.

And the info about the TonTons came from the coach himself on the french paintball portal Spirit of Paint.

I think that we'll get an update in the following days.


Anonymous said...

I understand your position Baca… just busting your chops :D
Local/national- Instead of promoting the sport of paintball through keen marketing, sponsorship mitigation, aptly chosen national venues to pull in fans and advertising, then improving upon these tangible factors, both national leagues are following a pipe-dream of unrealistic debts, the promotion of stylized, fractionally understood, unrealized concepts and most importantly, the usurping of business leaders through sweetheart deals, half-truths and impossible means. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that…
The approach of promoting localized businesses through a faulty and failing national structure is not only misguided, but purely insane. Arrogance and misappropriations in responsibility, function and usage have undermined every source of individuality, potential and succession this game has to offer from the people who deal with this business every day, not just the “top 1%”.
To put it simply, national leagues should represent the industry, not the other way around, and by definition they should not interfere with the actions of store and field owners as they are attempting to do so at this very moment. There has been a clear cut pocket of remorse and dissatisfaction among the industry, but with nowhere else to turn (including brick and mortar since we’ve pretty much killed that too), the national leagues have burdened the brunt and taken this problem to new heights for the sake of competition and supporting business over sport. Attempting to artificially bolster the namesake and role of both the national series and local field series will not only dissatisfy players, it will simply drive them away. What’s the point in playing a nationally recognized game when that game is quite literally dying in front of everyone? Competition (and fun!) is the reason these players go out and play, not to be featured as another pawn in a handful of business decisions.
Conclusively, individuals should be promoted in localized community efforts whereas the “best of the best” are accepted as national standards, invited as partners and not strung about on their willingness to believe or the addictive fanaticism they carry. What evidence is there that the PSP can do a damn thing to incite standards when they themselves have thrown away reality? They certainly haven’t elaborated on this ideal, nor fully explained the in’s and out’s of such a program- not by a long shot. Both leagues have forgotten what they stood for, ignored their responsibility as ambassadors and have willingly decided to effectively launch a nuke on the industry with piss poor insight, logistics and/or clarity in explanation. Frankly, it’s impossible to support a system on faith alone but the national leagues expect nothing less from consumers or their so called “sponsors”.
The irony is that this was self-fulfilling prophecy, controlled and intentional. We all knew the league split would culminate towards an end one day, but who would have thought it would end in neo-abolition towards the very creators of concept and tournament paintball? Plain and simple- the national leagues can’t get the job done to the expectations they so dolefully self-promote. Over time, they may get lucky again and survive, but their opportunity to embrace a truly uniform and sufficient game has passed. To expect the PSP or any league outside of local ingenuity to support the concept of paintball on their own, to dictate and choose this field over that, to sequester “unwanted” portions of the market, to denounce innovation and progression, to accept the responsibility of an entire nation’s image and progress- well, that’s just fucking stupid.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the PSP and the NPPL, their staffs are the best in the world, the most respected in the biz, but they haven’t changed, learned or evolved a damn bit, and in my heart of hearts, strategy beats out love, actions over good intentions. I have seen no action, nor good intentions- only two children fighting over a dollar that has already left.

Baca Loco said...

Thanks Anon
There's a lot here to digest. I'll have comments tomorrow--and I encourage other comments as well.

Anonymous said...

I think it's ridiculous to lump the PSP and NPPL staffs together. One group is led by the guy who took PSP from the dregs of tournament promotion to the league it is now. The other group is led by a guy whose greatest achievement is getting fired from almost every major paintball company at least once.

Tugais said...

An update about the french CPL team TonTons. The news has just been sent to my mailbox. They'll be shooting the Carnage paintballs for the next season.

Still no sign for a CPL team shooting .50, huh ?

Baca Loco said...

Last Anon,
On that score I agree with you but there are issues and conflicts to be resolved in this top down transition the PSP is attempting with its affiliates that aren't going away.

Baca Loco said...

Re: The Anonymous Manifesto :)
First, I'm not gonna pretend I even followed all of that. (There aren't enough bong hits in the state of Florida ...) But I will respond in broad strokes and if I get something wrong, please correct me.
If your basic point is that the nature of the industry/major leagues relationships has corrupted the sport and weilded an unhealthy amount of influence over the game--then I agree with you.
Unfortunately that is what it is and circumstance has dealt with that to a fairly significant degree.
If you think the measure of influence either major league continues to weild and the direction they are taking is detrimental--you could be right--but at least in the case of the PSP I would disagree. (And frankly the NPPL 3.0 is irrelevant.) I think what the PSP is trying to do with the new affliates and the new UCP are positive steps for competitive paintball. And reasonable people can argue the details of format, etc. endlessly and I'm not exactly thrilled with some of what's happened but I still think there has been Big Picture progress.
There remains a lot to be worked out but I'm also inclined to think that the introduction of a viable local to national structure is a net good.
Fight the power but don't worry, be happy :)