There was a rather modest (in numbers) yet boisterous resistance from the online community when the PSP modified their prize packages prior to the start of the 2010 season. Mostly from the affected lower division teams (players) who were seeing their possible winnings reduced or removed altogether. In hindsight it's perhaps worth reconsidering. Did the change in prizes offered affect the turnout? Most of the "lost" numbers--in the Race 2-X categories--compared to last year came from the lower divisions so it's not an unreasonable question.
I've also heard a disgusted mutter or two over the D1 prizes at the recent NPPL HB event--largely for the same reason; there wasn't enough of it. The deficient prizes (according to some) the result of two completely different approaches to the subject.
Btw, I'm going to avoid standing with one approach over the other as I have, at different times in the past, argued in favor of both approaches and find merit in both--for obviously different reasons. Consequently I don't have a dog in this hunt but it's a topic worthy of some time and consideration.
The PSP has decided that mediocre play shouldn't be rewarded and that prize money should instead go to motivating teams to improve, challenge themselves and advance if they want to win prize money. (For the record the PSP doesn't claim lower division play is mediocre play--that would be me--and that's not intended to be pejorative, just descriptive because I don't grade on a curve and my standard of excellence is ridiculously high.) In essence the PSP is saying that your entry entitles you to compete and if the league chooses to award prizes it's a bonus, not a given. [That's my take anyway. If an accredited rep of the league would like to offer a clarification we's all ears and I'll include it in the post.]
The NPPL 3.0 discovered last year that simply offering set prize purses didn't bring in "extra" teams for the most well-rewarded divisions (and while even higher prizes might have the league couldn't afford the ones on offer given the number of competing teams.) Teams that "know" or believe they can't compete at a certain level or against certain teams are almost always correct and when they don't think there's a chance to win the big prize they settle for the next available option. This year they modified the prize structure to reflect the number of teams participating in a given division and to encourage more upper division participation have graduated the percentage of entry fees returned as prizes so that the higher the division of play the greater the percentage returned. The result in HB was a much smaller payout in D1 compared to last season because the teams just weren't there.
Has the PSP gone too far? Will the lesser numbers of upper division teams in the NPPL see further erosion as the season goes on. What should be the purpose of the prize packages? Is it a participation bonus or should it be merit based? Can it be both?