Lots of news to cover today and time's a-wasting. No change over at the not so Grand Tour so I'ma skip them this week.
At NPPL 3.0 things continue apace. It's hard to know what the actual state of the league is but registration keeps growing. There are currently 109 registered teams, including 70 7-man teams. Registration has now surpassed last year's participation number of 103. And while I could'a sworn the league sent out an email blast about a full pump division at 16 teams it's no longer listed in the news and pump registration is up to 18. In the news a change to the field layout was announced today--seems a modest fix to the fifties was in order. (Perhaps they discovered the snake side snake was otherwise virtually unplayable.) 5-man registration remain soft with the majority being in the "new" D4 division. Finally, this week Kingman officially signed up as a major sponsor of the NPPL 3.0. In keeping with recent nomenclature changes around the leagues Kingman is not a gold, silver, platinum, etc. sponsor--they are a major sponsor. Kinda like the PSP's new generic master sponsor.
In the MS this week registration has increased by 10 teams over last week to bring the total number of registered teams across all divisions to 60. That's it. Despite the SPL additions of All Russians (who won D1 last season) and Manchester Method in their return to Millennium play. (You must read the announcement at MS website. It's on the home page. Are they models? Are they ballers?) In the face of dramatically reduced registration numbers the MS announced a reduced season schedule by pulling back to 4 events and canceling Turkey. The change reduced the cost to compete and saw Campaign and Mill Cup switch places on the schedule with Campaign playing over the 4th of July weekend and Mill Cup moved into early October. The MS has also updated their sponsors list for 2010 and the list of official sponsors is short and lonely. Stako and Kartel Prime are display sponsors, Paint Xtreme is a gold sponsor and Kingman Group, GI Milsim and Dark Sports are platinum sponsors and--that's it. This leaves a clear opening for somebody to jump in and scoop up the opportunity to place their logo on disposable trash bins.
On Feb 27th the TonTons released a video showing off their new private label NTs. In the background is the Malaga layout--which wasn't officially released until March 5th--and enquiring minds want to know how long the TonTons had access to the layout before everybody else. Oops.
With registration officially closed last Friday today's number for Phoenix is 109, 79 of which are playing some variant of xball lite while 30 teams, mostly D4, will be competing in a Race 2-2 format. That's 13 fewer xball teams and 21 fewer 5-man teams that last year's total of 143. That's approximately a 24% decline over last year in total numbers with the bulk being a 40% drop off in 5-man. Not good news. No telling the impact yet as Chicago will either begin to balance out a weak Phoenix or set a pattern of further decline.
The PSP is still without a 2010 rule book and it's beginning to show as are some of the complications that arise with significant change. Over at PBN this thread highlights a potential problem. Given the new classification rules the PSP (via APPA) intend to seed teams based on some cumulative player ranking formula--which doesn't sound unreasonable. Instead of attaching a ranking value to a team it is possible to do a more precise seeding using player classification values. Unless a team purposefully delays identifying who will be on their roster. (Or unintentionally alters their seed number by adding or removing players at the last minute.) In either case the seeding is skewed. I don't know how aggressively this issue might be manipulated or to what outcome but what I do know is if someone thinks they can gain an advantage by manipulating their seeding place they will try to do it.