As the time winds down on the next two events in the major league season, Chicago NPPL & MS Bitburg, the sound of the ticking clock is getting louder and louder--at least for those with a stake in the outcome. Both leagues will close registration sometime within the next two weeks and do so with lower team totals than they hoped.
In Millennium land there are 66 locked division teams, For a goodly number this will be their first event of the season. (No word from the MS on what the locked division teams opted to do, accept forfeits and complete their remaining Malaga matches or take an average score, but we should see once a make-up schedule is released.) Last week there were only 15 open division teams registered. That leaped up to 22 today with two of the open divisions in single digits for registrations.
The unknown in this equation is how many open division teams had made prior arrangements to compete at Bitburg and are waiting until the last minute to register and pay. The trend has been toward softness in the open division participation (which doesn't bode well for the future especially as the league cannibalized the lower divisions in order to try and fill up the locked divisions.) Last year Bitburg had 47 open division teams while Malaga '09 had 77 compared to '10 having 60 registered. (And there is a discrepancy between registrations and those receiving ranking points after the event which may be accounted for with no-shows.)
Back in the U.S. of A. the NPPL linked to current registrations within the last few days and the numbers are predictable if not what the league was probably hoping for. Given our recent polls 5-man registrations are about where I would've guessed compared to PSP Chicago 5-man numbers with both being very soft. Leaving the pro teams out of the calculation there are currently 55 teams registered for the CPX Chicago event over Memorial Day weekend. Of that number it appears 10 have yet to pay their entry. More interestingly approximately 23 of the 55 teams are repeats from HB which puts new registrants at 32. As I've suggested in past MLP updates the Chicago numbers are likely a better reflection of the NPPL's drawing power than HB but even there I discovered a discrepancy. In looking for teams playing Chicago that played HB it seems only 103 teams received ranking points in HB--which is odd given the league was supposed to have sold out the event with 120 teams total. I don't profess to be a math whiz but I counted the numbers twice so I'm confident I didn't miss 17 teams.
UPDATE: Seems raehl was correct (even a blind squirrel etc. etc.) and the NPPL simply didn't bother to rank the D4 5-man teams. Or hasn't gotten around to it yet but they were listed on the HB schedule.
Skipping over to the PSP the Race 2-X registrations have been fluctuating up & down a little bit this past week leaving the total today similar to last week's total. There's always some of that as new teams register in the wrong divisions and others change their plans. It is however looking like we're about to see the whole semi-pro division falter as word comes out that Vipers S-P is done for now along with rumors of Raiden's demise--with the prospect of more to follow. 5-man registrations rose 33% which sounds impressive only because the number was low to begin with. Today's total--when I checked--was 40 Race 2-2 teams registered. That number needs to double to put the total number of registered teams in the ballpark of recent Chicago events. The first payment deadline is coming up later in the week so for those who want to keep their entry costs as low as possible it's that time.
The not so Grand Tour has posted results (finally) for Venice along with some links to a few photo galleries. The next event is Lvov in late June and there are 16 teams currently signed up including the 8 pro teams that played Venice. The event got some media coverage (newspaper) in Poland but not in the sports section. Something closer to the Style or Gossip section of the paper. Seems one of Warsaw United's players is a C-list celebrity TV actor who passed out briefly at the event after getting shot in the head. It was attributed to dehydration--though commenters to the online version were inclined to blame previous alcohol consumption--and the player assured everyone he wasn't put off and would continue to play. There were photos attached and the claim that paintball was a growing hobby in Poland. So any press is good press, right?