Aight, the PSP has done it again. Announcing today the MPL (Mexican Paintball League) as a new affiliate league. The association officially extends the Race 2 format south of the border. So when can we expect to see an affiliate in Canuckistan? And why the hell is the MSXL a supporting member and not an affiliate?
Chicago PSP registration is up to 72 Race 2-X and 25 Race 2-2 teams. The first deadline for payment is still 3 weeks away and the event is two months away. I'm interested in the affiliates on a couple of counts; I believe (and have advocated for a long time) that regional tourneys and a centralized championship is (was) the way to go. And because the greatest risk to the PSP is in the transition away from the old national model. So both the health of the affiliates and their immediate impact on the PSP are worth following.
The jury is still out on Phoenix. Was the decline the economy, the elevated entry fees in a category or two, or draw down from prior WCPPL & AZPPL events or some combination of them all? After checking the numbers at APPA it seems the Phoenix Race 2-2 entries are (were) generally consistent with Cup & Chicago '09. Also of some interest perhaps is the factoid that anytime Race 2-2 is available as a Sat-Sun or Fri-Sun option the longer Friday thru Sunday draws more teams (except WC 'o7). Probably not all that relevant as Phoenix '10 had both options and numbers were still down 40% over the two years prior.
With respect to each of the affiliates I'm not going to try and draw any conclusions just yet although a few factoids seem worthy of mention. The WCPPL appears to be going great guns with 85 teams registered (when I checked earlier in the week). Seems solid considering its only the second year for the league and first using the Race 2 format(s). Mike's league is also the only one offering pump right now. The AZPPL has 28 Race 2-2 teams registered for its next event and did over 20 in its first event. The Vicious Series is maxed out at 36 for their next event including 16 Race 2-4 teams. And the recent addition MSXL has 24 Race 2-4 teams signed for its next event. In the northeast the Hurricanes Tourney Series is just getting started as ther first event isn't until the end of May--but this is a completely new league launch. Down in Florida the CFPS looks to be down numbers-wise a bit over last year but the best turnouts last year were during the summer months so it will be interesting to see how this season trends. Which brings us to the CFOA which isn't drawing like the old days but has solid numbers in both Race 2-4 and Race 2-2. The CFOA is also committing to a broad offering of 3-man events presumably to help rebuild the competitive base in their region.
Overall, the numbers may look pretty good but it seems to me there's lots of potential for growth despite the hardship factors and it will be interesting to see how this season unfolds.