Long title. Sounds kinda boring. Probably is kinda boring. Probably not particularly relevant for the majority of even this blog's readers. Fortunately none of those things dissuade me in the slightest.
I've been reviewing the recent history of major league self-promotion and competitive paintball promotion in general and it falls into three categories; promotion to the pool of potential customers (peeps who already play); promotion within the PBIndustry and promotion to the wider, non-playing public. And within these categories you have sub-groups. For example, when it comes to potential customers there are regional competitive players, recreational players, etc. Industry promotion is about building reciprocal relationships and support for the leagues. Among the non-playing public there are sports fans, adrenaline junkies, spoiled rich kids, video game shut-ins, The Most Dangerous Game wannabes, Real Housewives of Orange County and assorted corporate simulacrum with nothing in common except an unspent pile of marketing cashola. (Some are more likely targets than others.) In all cases I think there's, let's just say, room for improvement.
So what exactly have the Big Leagues done to promote themselves to the pool of likely paintball players? When there was only one league the answer is damn little. (Think Millennium Series.) With the split came competition between the leagues. That competition resulted in actual substantive improvements. Improvements that could be used in the promotion of the leagues--but not promotion per se. But don't get caught up in the conventional wisdom that says the competition between leagues created an unsustainable product and level of expectation. (That part of the competition wasn't about the players it was about the Race 2-TV.)
Once upon a time promotion was mostly assumed--if anybody bothered to spend anytime thinking about it. There are competitive paintball teams out there who will rise to the national/international challenge, right? Cool. With the split to 2 competing leagues and 2 formats promotion began to matter. And that promotion largely focused on philosophies and differences; primarily formats (7-man vs. 10-man & xball) & focus. By focus I mean the NPPL was selling an experience--the perpetual paintball party--while the PSP was selling paintball as legit sport. The methods (and means) were, and remain (mostly) mundane, lacking creativity. Email blasts for past players on a list, announcements on paintball forums, ads in magazines. The latest invention, video clips. (Some of which have been good.) But if survival is at stake shouldn't there be more?
Next time more about where promotions are now--and eventually some thoughts on where they ought to be and maybe even how to make it happen.