Monday, February 22, 2010

NPPL Live Webcast Recap

If you missed the webcast last night I have two words for you: Shawn Walker. And here's another word: stakeholders.
Was that unfair, unkind, cruel even? I don't think so. The broadcast opened with Chuck asserting (once again) that the USPL is no more and that this is the NPPL (3.0), the once and future 7-man paintball league. Say it loud, say it proud. I'm willing to take him at his word. And of course some of the same themes were repeated as well. (Walker's RPL was also identified as a feeder league which was mildly curious given that it's based on 5-man ...)

The broadcast was about an hour long with a brief intermission in the middle. Leading up to the broadcast I thought was a good idea, answer questions, drum up more interest & generally promote the league. Afterwards, it seemed long on talk and a little thin on content. A lot of territory was covered but largely in a superficial manner. So before I get into some of the details here's a list of items discussed I won't be responding to;
the admission that last year was financially rough but this year will see a turnaround,
while the USPL is no more there's still an enormous U in the middle of the playing field,
anything related to classification, ranking & player id's because seriously, really?
the disconnect between the press release and the broadcast,
when asked "why 7-man?" Chuck's response of it's great for TV and semi-auto. Or Alex's hyperbolic follow-up that we'd still be in the woods without 7-man,
the oft-repeated mantra of being a league run by the players for the players.

Using the press release as a topic guide I want to go through the list and briefly give the league's responses to the broadcast topics.
Rule book changes--yes, there will be some and most revolve around gun rules and most will relate to penalizing players and not teams though how that's gonna work was not stated. And there will be something about how to catch illegal guns too.
HB field layout--everybody likes it except Rodney and while it hasn't been played yet a field is a field is a field. It'll be fine.
Event paintballs--nope, didn't hear anything about this though it could have occurred during the brief period the audio was down early in the broadcast.
Sponsorships--working on stuff, KEE is a big supporter as are Kingman, Spyder, the Army and working on energy drinks and more stuff. Making a bigger effort to connect with locals.
Ref clinic report--last year's refs were dedicated and hard-working but the NPPL is determined to have the best refs possible and it begins with communication, or something like that.
Pro team updates--3 new teams, Dogs, Entourage & Vancouver Vendetta; 3 teams out, Rage, Elevation & United, so 15 teams. Except there were 16 last year and if 3 drop and 3 replace them where's the missing team?
Rankings--no worries, the NPPL has years of old NPPL records to rely on.
Hotels, travel and HB special events, promotions and parties--Chuck thanked the Hilton for the use of the suite for the broadcast.
Special Guests (local field operators, HB city officials, hotel reps, Vip Girls and more)--one field operator, Gio d'Egidio (and new volunteer), no officials, reps or girls. Perhaps we could count Junior from Ballers Cafe (also new volunteer), Chris Iaquinta from Splat! (also new volunteer) and Justin Mason from as more.

Stuff not mentioned in the press release that got mentioned was the all volunteer reorg of league duties, introduction of 50 cal guns & paint, webcasts for HB & Vegas and a new D4 division. Chuck remains Commish, Frank Connell is registration, Dennis Olson is finances, Rich is rules, Eric Crandall is General Manager, Bart is pro team liaison, Rob (I missed), JB is sponsors, Iaquinta is marketing, Gio is promotions and marketing, Tom Cole is Ultimate and at the end Chuck mentioned Dante for event set-up. D4 will be exclusively for D4 ranked players. And GI Milsim will presumably be a sponsor too--and they probably said so--as the league will allow 50 cal use side-by-side with standard 68 but otherwise nothing else about it.

I originally intended some more in-depth commentary but this is even more tedious the second time around and I'm rapidly losing the will to live so you're out of luck.


Anonymous said...

Seems strange to me that they decided to have a "press conference" to get the word out that they don't have much of anything figured out yet for this year. Oh, and I though it was special that they took the opportunity to trash Elevation and United...and for good measure lumping Mutiny and Legend into the mix, although giving the last two kudos for coming back to continue to be punching bags.

Ryan Bosch (Elevation & NXe) said...

It was interesting to see them trash us "elevation" as well as not even know our name. I thought we had left on good terms but apparently now that we are not worth a dollar value that is not the case. Anyhow looking forward to a great season with the PSP in semi pro and hopefully we can earn our way into the real pro ranks for 2011.

Anonymous said...

The mystery pro team from last year that also is not returning is Bushwackers.

Anonymous said...

I was also amused that they trashed some of last year's teams but were incredibly proud to be importing unnheard-of teams from Canada.

Elevation sucked - we have Vancouver now!

Baca Loco said...

Yes, they left out Wackers but what about Arsenal?

Anonymous said...

Good point about Arsenal. Tom doesn't seem to want to make any public statements about his stable, unless I missed it along the way. I did notice Arsenal Preds are signed up for Phoenix, though.

Justin @ said...

I would have loved to asked real questions. Among others, about T4/Arsenal, evolution of the format, relevance, efforts at community outreach and classification issues, but apparently these questions were not part of the script.

Until next time...cough.

Anonymous said...

Did they have you clear questions in advance? If so, why not say so on If not, why not ask the questions anyway?

Don Saavedra said...

"If you were a tree, what tree would you be?"

Anonymous said...

So...the teams that are out now: elevation, united, wackers, etc...

Did you get anything for your investment last year? As in, did the NPPL buy you out of your ownership stake? Or, are you still technically "owners"? Was it just a scam?

Anonymous said...

...and more questions

Can NPPL 5.0 have Evan Money??? And if so could we make a move to call it P. T. Barnum's Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan & Hippodrome.

And I can't believe no one's commented on Shawn Walker yet. Apparently he was wrongfully accused?

Anonymous said...

Justin stop telling lies. Everyone knows you are a Hinman groupie. Watch the video and they clearly ask you multiple times if you have any more questions. You obviously pussed out.

The thing wasn't that bad, I wish someone would of asked tougher questions. Hopefully we see a team list soon, I hope they are not fudging the numbers.

anonachris said...

What's your idea of a perfect Sunday?

DD said...

How to make the NPPL maybe successful again!!!

NPPL should utilize its assets or should I say main asset - Huntington Beach... Concentrate on buliding this event up like the original Skyball or Mardi Gras events. THis is by far always the BEST pb event of the year so why not leverage it the best way you can and gain trust back into the NPPL.

As far as I'm concerned the NPPL should cap it maybe at 2 events this year and just make them nothing short of amazing. Eventually as the economy heals, paintball tournament scene will heal allowing teams to compete once again in multiple tournaments.

If the NPPL cares about the grass roots and really wants to promote paintball the right way they will figure a way to take this approach. Unfortunately I think theres too many hands in a small pot, and I'm sure everyone involved in the NPPL is trying to figure a way to generate a check - if i'm wrong sorry but face the facts - YOUR NOT TASKING OVER THE PSP ANYTIME SOON!!! Might as well and concentrate on a 2 kick a$$ events and trust me the people will eventually come.

thats free advice

Justin @ said...

Ha ha ha ha. Oh my.

If you were there, good, you know what was said behind the camera. However, do understand there is a time difference between LIVE and then LIVE tv. This is to allow for editing. Frankly, its not worth pissing a bunch of team owners off on their turf only to be cut out. Where is that going to get anyone?

If they don't want me to ask the questions at their press conference, fine. Honestly, I should have known better. However, I do appreciate the compliment. For all intents and purposes, my goal is not to blast anyone (or any league), but to understand and pass that information along to the paintball community.

I wish the NPPL the best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Huntington Beach is not the best event of the year anymore. Where you there last year? It was a small shadow of its former self, and it will be an even smaller shadow this year with all the cuts they are making to try to lose as little money as possible.

And there is a reason there is no Skyball anymore. Anyone who ever ran it lost piles of money.

Anonymous said...


You have that backwards. You ask the questions you ask, and if they don't like it YOU lock THEM out of Stop covering their teams, stop covering their league, stop featuring their "prss conferences" on your site...

You should write up a list of all the questions they wouldn't answer and put an article on your site about it. Or send them to NPPL, get their answers, then interview other people who have expertise on the same questions. If it's questions about ROF enforcement, as some techs/other officials. If it's questions about ref quality, ask Tim or Tony. If it's questions about registration, ask Raehl. Then you end up with an interesting, balanced article that is of use to the players.

And if NPPL doesn't like it and tries some sort of lock-you-out manuveur, then just stop covering them on NPPL is barely holding on. They need you way more than you need them.

Don Saavedra said...

While I agree that there is a dearth of real journalism any more (the only ones who seem to be able to report the news straight without any "color" is ESPN anymore)... I'm not sure should be held to any standard they don't set for themselves.

And frankly, nobody can afford to turn their backs on anybody in our sport right now. Do you wanna go speak Truth to Power? Start your own blog. I'll follow it.