Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Major League Paintball on Suicide Watch

This is a shortened version of the intended post as Blogger ate the original and I didn't have the patience (or time) to do the whole thing all over again.

Over at the not so very Grand Tour the modest momentum of the last couple of weeks--not big mo, just little mo--has not realized a significant influx of new registrations. Unfortunately. Total numbers are up slightly. Bullitproof Monkey (a photo/media company, I think) will be on site covering the event so maybe they will inspire a few teams to take the plunge.

All is relatively quiet on the PSP front as the league regroups and prepares to move forward with the season. A direct comparison to HB may leave the PSP unexpectedly playing catch-up if the numbers available over at the NPPL 3.0 website are accurate but a direct comparison isn't very useful. (More in the NPPL section.)
The most interesting thing currently is the state of the affiliates given that the vitality of the affiliates will have a bearing on the state of the PSP. The new field layout releases are interesting as well and I'll get around to posting on them soon--along with the NCPA field layout recently released.

Back across the pond in MillenniumLand something close to final numbers are in. (I couldn't find a closing date for registration but given that HB has already closed and the events are the same weekend it must be soon.) As registrations stand today the league is off nearly 30% compared to last year at the same time for the same venue--which is a larger decline in real numbers and percentage than Phoenix for the PSP. Of note too is the state of German participation. (Those little nationality flags are a great quick reference.) There are presently 2, count them, two, German teams registered--both in the CPL. And that's it. (And last year only 17 German teams played an MS event.) It would seem the abundance of national leagues has given the German teams a suitable alternative to the MS. More importantly perhaps half the German losses are in higher division teams. The same is true of Belgium, for example. 10 teams last year with 5 teams D1 or higher and this year only 1 SPL team from Belgium.
Tomorrow is the CPL draw live on Spirit of Paint. I'm curious to see if the MS does what they did for Turkey and just pretend they have full brackets and go with 4 groups of 4 as in previous seasons. Fingers crossed--I think there's a real possibility.

NPPLmania is coming to HB and if the numbers posted on the league website are accurate the turnout should up better than 10% over last year. That would also mean more teams than the PSP had in Phoenix. And logistically HB ought to be easier & cheaper with fewer fields, less staff and refs in comparison to Phoenix. Balancing that out will be the unique set of costs HB incur with things like overtime for the police, etc. The other concern even with an improving HB is the fact the league's marquee venue is a loss leader and always has been. In the past the big splash HB made drew in big numbers for follow-up events. Last year that didn't happen for NPPL 3.0 and seems unlikely to happen this year. (As decline set in years before.) While paintball teams aren't a zero sum game and the potential exists for more than enough to support two big leagues present reality suggests it's unlikely to happen in the near term. While the PSP is working with its affiliates to build new teams and a new way to conceive of national level play the NPPL remains reliant on past practices. Will the simple existence of the league inspire enough new 7-man teams to make the league a viable operation?
Chicago will tell--at least better than HB. Just as the PSP fortunes for the season may rest on the Chicago turnout so too will Chicago NPPL give us a much better indication of the health of the NPPL than HB will.
Last year the NPPL had 16 pro teams/owners. The league lost 6 and have gained back 3. Are the new entries owners too? Are the past owners no longer putting teams in still owners? What will pro prelims look like with only 13 teams? Stay tuned.

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