A PSP press release yesterday announced that the Chicago 2010 event would be a blast back to the past, to be held at the Badlandz, OG home of the original Chicagoland tournaments. Drawing on tournament history and tradition it was one part nostalgia and two parts challenge. A reminder of past glory and a gauntlet thrown down for the younger set to prove they have the kind of heart today that the Old Skoolers had in their time. All in all a couple of steps up from the usual blather. Not that this isn't blather too but it is a better quality blather than the norm. And it probably would have worked pretty well any other time. (Heck, it may still work pretty well but there are a couple of things working against it, too.)
For those paying attention it ain't news that until yesterday there had not been an announced venue for the Chicago event. For those paying less attention the PSP has held the popular event next to a water park in Bolingbrook Il for the past few years and a return to a rural paintball field sounds like a step backwards. The real news is Bolingbrook was almost certainly not going to be the venue this year due to rising rental fees and the league was reviewing other possibilities. And personally I am inclined to think (based on zero official information) that the Badlandz is a conservative fallback option predicated largely on the significant decline in numbers seen in Phoenix. If Chicago numbers rebound the Badlandz can handle it (for the most part) and if they continue to be soft the Badlandz won't be an economic albatross around the league's throat. It is a prudent if not ideal choice.
Besides the obvious comparison players will make between the expected venue and the one they's gonna get there's also the unfortunate timing--of the NPPL 3.0's return to Chicago--prior to the PSP. The NPPL Chicago event is scheduled to be held at a paintball venue too; CPX Paintball Park in conjunction with the high profile Big Game, Living Legends, over the Memorial Day weekend. The PSP event will held end of June (as usual) and in conjunction with a UWL event. This means potential participants have two Chicago events within a month of each other to consider attending and it seems to me it's an open question as to the appeal of the two choices. Will NPPL 3.0 draw off local one time 5-man teams? Will a comparison of the venues sway undecideds? Time will tell.