Or, the Rise or Demise of Joy Division?
You may recall after Phoenix I reported on a conversation I had about small ball and more specifically GI Milsim's future plans. At that time the North American focus looked to be aimed directly at the mil-sim market--which still seems to be the case.
But Euroland looks a bit different. A new French team Boost Air Rennes joined the SPL--bought their way in--were handed an open spot--whatever--sponsored by Paint Distribution, the French distributor of GI Milsim in order, one presumes, to give 50 cal paint and guns a boost. (Yes, I did that on purpose.) They appear to have played one match and I'm quite certain that short of a podium finish, SPL or not, nobody cares. (Although I suppose it's conceivable that French forums are full of Boost Air Rennes watchers--but I doubt it.)
Which is where Joy comes into play. (I am assuming the Nanos in question are of the small ball variety although I have yet to receive official confirmation. Far as I can tell GI Milsim do not produce a 68 cal version of the Nano.) It's a no-brainer that Joy has the profile to make their use of small ball and the Nano marker a story of interest regardless of results--and they have a history of being one of the CPL's top teams as well. That makes Dark Sports interest obvious and standard operating procedure for a new company intent on promoting its products. On the flip side this could be a make or break situation for tournament small ball. If Joy don't continue with their consistently high results won't small ball get the blame, deserved or undeserved?
Of greater interest (to me) is what it says about Joy (and Angel Paintball Sports) and sponsorship in the present environment. Over the years no team has shown greater brand and sponsor loyalty than Joy in their relationship with Angel but the present realities (at both Angel and Joy) are compelling changes. It's swell to say Joy will continue using Angels in non-MS events but the simple fact is the MS is Joy's showcase series and the majority of fans will only follow those results. And how does a team of Joy's rep and longevity start a season without a paint deal? And how is it Angel allowed things to come to this pass? Doesn't this mean that either they simply aren't able to support Joy the way they once did or that they couldn't justify making that level of commitment?
Tourney ball doesn't need anymore cautionary tales. What we need are some new success stories--which leaves me a little torn when it comes to the future of small ball in the competitive paintball arena.
UPDATE: Sems there's some contradictory info out there. For links and the latest check out the comments.