There are a couple of items that didn't make yesterday's regular Suicide Watch update I want to address as well as some very on point questions that came up in the comments to yesterday's post.
Beginning with the MS it's interesting that the event they cancel is the Sarsilmaz Cup in Turkey. Most reports from those who attended the Antalya event were very positive and rumor had it that the local support made it a very attractive venue for the league as well. (With last year's primary complaint of late, very late, notice being a non issue. On the flipside attendance was poor with locked division no-shows and moronic pre-lim brackets but all that was part and parcel to the late notice and resultant higher costs.) Yet, when the MS decide to reduce the season it seems that none of the owners was willing to give up their events. Looking at the Malaga team list so far there appears to be a dearth of German teams in particular. Should that continue does that make Bitburg, already the least well attended event, more or less attractive? [Bitburg may not be the least wll attended--certainly not last year compared to Turkey but still only had 47 non-locked division teams last season.] (And is the German teams absence related perhaps to the new national league that is in the works there?) Of course if the MAXS peeps give up the German event once does it establish a precedent they don't want to see repeated? Possibly. Does a homegrown Millennium event serve any practical function for the owners or is it mostly a matter of prestige? (There's been talk in years past of pulling the Campaign Cup because of the dismal turnout from UK teams.) Not a lot of answers, just lots of questions but maybe it's no real surprise the MS can't seem to get their act together because they really can't manage to get their act together--even when they pay a price.
Elsewhere it's been suggested the TonTons were performing a service by checking to make sure the field actually played okay. This is, of course, utter nonsense. Everybody understands how and why the TonTons got the field and not, say, Joy Division or Lisbon Benefica. Nor is it relevant that extra practice on the layout may not show up in the results. How to tell? What is relevant is the arrogance and unwillingness of elements of the MS to abide by the rules everyone else must live by. What is also relevant is the demonstration that the MS apparently has no qualms about acting in that fashion either. And aren't bright enough not to out themselves. Okay, that last bit is pretty funny, too.
Moving on to the PSP here's the first of the comment questions: Is the decrease in teams at the PSP the results of the affiliate leagues? (WCPPL and CFPS last weekend, CFOA the weekend before and AZPPL a couple of weeks ago.)
I think it's reasonable to assume the affiliates have drawn off some teams that would otherwise have played the national event. The numbers, timing and divisions involved in a year to year comparison seem to support that idea. I also expected a continuing general decline. As I suggested before I think the Chicago numbers will go a long way to confirming the affiliate league hypothesis. There may also be something to it being the first event and the westernmost given that the reccession has been particulary hard on Cali and Arizona. And the HB event isn't not seeing any upsurge in 5-man team registrations either so the NPPL probably hasn't pulled significant numbers that would otherwise have played Phoenix.
If it is, is that bad for the PSP?
In the short term it isn't good. In the long term it's part of the plan. The difficulty is going to be the balancing act the PSP will be doing during the transitional period. They need enough participation to see them through from here to there but they also want to see the affiliates succeed.
Yes, less team, yes, less revenue from entry fees, but could it be compensated by 1 less field, therefore less refs and all the expenses that comes with it? I have hear we would have 6 or 7 fields in Phoenix, so my theory goes down on this one... but isn't it the thought behind that affiliate program? Smaller and more selective national events with a larger base to support it.
Yes, and in the longer run we may see that happen. However, there are some factors for Phoenix conspiring against an optimal event. One, the shorter duration event means the same x number of games need to be played in less time equals more fields and refs, not fewer. Two, the new rules. Their effect isn't known yet and the PSP needs to err on the side of caution until they have a clearer idea what the impact will be. Again, in the longer term, yes, the goal is smaller more selective national events and a more fully realized World Cup where championships are won--and lost.
I also wonder if the lack of clarity entering the season hasn't had an effect as well. There have been substantial changes and I'm sure that nobody knows how will play out. Teams dedicated to playing the series suck it up and play anyway--but teams, particularly in the lower divisions, that are far more likely to play one or two events are also more likely to be put off--and the availability of a ready, cheaper option in the affiliates could have also played a role.For example, at this point, right now, today, I have no idea what our post-prelim round(s) will look like and I would probably believe you if you told me it wasn't decided yet--and it does not make me a happy camper even though I believe in what the league is trying to do. Bottom line is most peeps just want to play some paintball.