Nothing much new to report for the not so Grand Tour. A couple more teams have registered for the Venice event but no "pro" teams yet. And no 3-man xball yet either. No field layout--probably because they are waiting for the MS to release a Malaga layout which they will also use. Nothing else is new. I'm hoping this event actually works for the GT as I can't get over the venue--Grand Tour & Grand Canal--together again for the very first time. It's spectacular. Now if they can only put on a successful event.
Right after last week's Suicide Watch report the MS released the names of all the registered locked division teams for the first time this season. So far the CPL has 8 (16), the SPL 14 (28) & D1 7 (27). And in the case of the SPL and D1 the original division size was 32 teams and the 28 & 27 numbers indicate last year's max. The 3 unlocked divisions share 20 registrants between them to date. That puts total event registration to date at 49 (+1).
For a related but different perspective if you follow the league's team registration procedures you will get to a page that allows you to look at previous locked division teams on a pull down menu to see who was once a locked division team. First identify the division and then click on the separate team list.
On the plus side a few empty spots has allowed Boost Air to jump right into the SPL. Boost Air's claim to fame is they will be shooting 50 cal and are principally sponsored by GI Milsim & Paintball Distribution (the French distributor for GI Milsim.) The news is on the Millennium website's home (news) page. No word on whether or not Boost paid the licensing fee for a locked division spot or whose spot they're taking. Lucky for their sponsors the team didn't have to work its way up the ranks.
And, as noted in the GT section, the MS has not released a field layout for Malaga yet.
NPPLmania sweeps Huntington Beach! Not really, but, you know, it could happen. The NPPL also released their team registration list last week after the Suicide Watch report last Tuesday and, frankly (no pun intended) the numbers were surprising in a couple of ways. Not all the pro teams/owners were listed and there were 60+ teams listed. Today registration stands at 85 teams including 16 pump teams and 11 5-man teams. According to the list the majority have paid--something. It will be interesting to see what actual participation numbers end up being at the event. It would seem the league intends to go full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes. HB is the most costly event of the season and last year the league was rumored to have taken a substantial loss at HB with 103 teams paid including 18 pump teams.
According to the live webcast the rules were supposed to have been released yesterday but I think a little leeway is due given that the PSP hasn't yet released their 2010 rule book either and the Phoenix event is less than 3 weeks away. Of more immediate interest is the paint situation for HB. No confirmation of prices yet or whether or not RPS will be the exclusive paint provider as has been rumored.
On the retro front Angel Heaven returns to an NPPL event and is likely the most anticipated Angel sighting in years. Angel owners get in free and if I were a betting man I'd be inclined to put the over/under close to 10.
Last official day to pay a Phoenix entry is this coming Friday, March 5th. There is a little leeway built into that deadline but not much. Registration numbers have been virtually static for a couple of weeks and all registered teams will need to participate in order for the 2010 season opener to equal last year's turnout. By this time next week we will have a final team list. What we won't have yet is more than a guess as to why if the numbers show any significant decline. As mentioned before one place to look is Race 2-2 participation in the AZPPL and WCPPL to see if the affiliates are pulling teams that might otherwise have played PSP. (With the current 5-man NPPL registrants it's clear the NPPL isn't pulling away PSP teams.)
We also still don't have the new set of rules. But there is a new classification for sponsors called master. I wonder how master equates to past practices. Perhaps they've pulled their new tiering order from the plumbing profession and we can look forward to journeyman and novice sponsors as well. (But probably not.)