The not so Grand Tour has now accounted for the stragglers and it looks like 32 teams in 4 divisions will compete this weekend in Mestre, the nearest mainland city to Venice. The 7 team pro bracket includes CPL teams Bullets and Syndicate. The GT also announced this past week the field layout will be the Millennium's Bitberg layout --which is consistent with past practice but left the competing teams virtually no time to prepare. I understand the logic of an MS tie-in from the GT's perspective but at the same time it pretty much relegates their tourney series to second tier status in fact and in the minds of potential customers.
PSP registration increased by 17 teams over last week to a total of 107 with the event still two months away. On its face it appears promising although there is a sharp distinction between xball and 5-man registrations. On the plus side if one includes the so far unregistered pro teams to the xball list the total is within 10 of last year's participation. Chicago has been traditionally--if you can use that term in relation to paintball--the PSP's second largest seasonal event but the bulk of those extra teams--above and beyond events like Phoenix and MAO--is made up of 5-man teams (Race 2-2) and without them the event will take a serious hit.
In the other Chicago event the NPPL has yet to post any information about registration other than it is open and available to teams who wish to participate. For those who want to play a guessing game with NPPL registration keep an eye on the venue and gun rules categories of the current Monday Poll as I suspect they may offer some direction. In other NPPL news the league is looking to drum up some affiliate league (event) interest as it touts the couple of great affiliate events prior to HB. On one hand this is typical public relations blather but I think there's another way to take it. While I didn't participate in either affiliate event prior to HB what I've heard suggests that my definition of "great" varies rather dramatically from the league's definition--as apparently does their definition of affiliate when compared to the PSP. Again, nothing wrong except there is a whiff of me-too-ism about it. As if the NPPL feels it needs to compete against the PSP at the PSP's game and that strikes me as a losing proposition particularly when even the average paintballer can see the difference. The NPPL has shown no indication it intends to restructure the way it puts on events so why the need to appear to be following the other guys? I don't get it.
Skipping back across the pond (while avoiding descending ash clouds) the MS is hoping to get back to business as normal--which means poor communications and poorer customer relations if the past is any indicator. The league is making noises about preparing a texting system to facilitate communications with the teams but there's a difference between having the means and actually following through. Was that unfair of me? Perhaps. Registrations for Bitberg in the open divisions stands at 10 total today.
While no official word has been posted on the MS site as to how the missed matches, etc. will be resolved in the closed divisions an unofficial official statement has appeared on at least one French website suggesting teams that were unable to attend have two optional courses of action. They may take forfeits in any scheduled match they missed in Malaga and play out the others in Bitberg or they can take an average score comprised of their other event results over the rest of the season. If that is in fact the intended MS solution then what happens when team A wants to play in Bitberg and team B (in the same original bracket) wants to take an average score? Will teams be reseeded and new brackets made up? How will that work when some teams have played some matches and others haven't?
In some respects the MS is getting off a second Malaga debacle easy. What if there had been no lightning or volcanic eruptions? There still would have been excessive wind, some rain and tides washing away beach from under the turf and all the teams would have been there and then whose fault would the resulting chaos have been?