Maybe it's working. You know, the whole ad-hoc campaign to take a friend to play paintball gimmick.
I've been doing my own one man anecdotal paintball field survey for the last 3 months or so. Mostly that just means I've been asking around (locally and when I'm on the road) how business has been at different fields around the country. There have been some tough stretches with bad weather a number of places around the country but decent weather has seen decent--and frequently better than decent--player turnout at most fields when I've enquired. It's not universally true but the overall result has been surprisingly positive. Of course it might be that it couldn't hardly be worse and allow local fields to continue to survive but the raw numbers reported from lots of places is better than survival numbers. And given the gloom and doom of the last couple years any ray of sunshine is blindingly bright but still... It leaves me wondering what's going on. Are the grassroots, the front lines of paintball recovering? Or, has paintball lost so many local fields and stores already that those who survived are receiving the benefit of tossing a wider net, even unintentionally? (Fewer options results in better numbers all around for those who remain. Maybe.)
Even if it's true it doesn't seem to be translating into sales--though the data wouldn't (won't) show up immediately anyway--but there haven't (to the best of my limited knowledge) been any prior indications or quiet optimism coming from any of the big industry players. Yet.
Over at P8ntballer Robbo has an interview with Billy Ceranski that touches on the topic if you want to give it a listen (and make fun of Robbo's marginal ability to function in the 21st century.) (And, yes, I'm not even going there--the whole video interview thing--so feel free to mock me as well.) Anyway, the upshot is my interest in this general topic has been piqued (again) and it will come up in the upcoming mystery interview and I'm also going to (finally) get around to interviewing Rob Staudinger (in the near future) in his capacity with the PSTA to see how he and the industry approach reviving paintball's grassroots.