A-ha. Admit it. You've been completely taken by surprise. That's because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Or the continuation of a series of posts from back in May. (Part 1 Part 2) But that's how I roll (and the Post-It notes are working as advertised.)
Today's post sets the groundwork for how the major leagues might improve their promotional efforts. To begin I have a few questions. What is it the leagues are promoting now? Isn't their primary effort aimed at promoting themselves? And if it is, is that wrong? Or a mistake? A missed opportunity or a misplaced priority? The reason I ask is because I want to start with a clean slate. No automatic assumptions. No beginning where the leagues left off. It's important to question everything initially. And it's important to come to some baseline conclusions. Before we decide how the leagues might go about their promotions we need to have a firm grasp on what and why.
My view is the leagues have mostly been promoting themselves. Now don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with that as it is a necessary part of the process--but it's only a part--particularly if the Big Picture goal is to raise awareness and interest in competitive paintball as sport. Of course you've got to survive before you thrive but it's unclear to me at this stage if any of the leagues have a conception of how to move past (the oftentimes mediocre) self-promotion that is what passes for promotion at present.
So what else should the leagues be promoting? Do I really have to ask that question? (I hope not.) Even so, in a sense, it depends. If the leagues are content to be the temporary arbiters of format and the means by which the rest of us currently have an opportunity to compete then they don't really need to do anything else--except wait to die when something (and somebody) else comes along to replace them. If they intend to be in this for the longer haul they will have to both adjust and expand their thinking about just how they go about staying relevant in the world of competitive paintball.
The fact is the best way the leagues can promote themselves is to promote the sport and there is potentially so much more to be done than simply try and convince more tourney players to play your events than those who play the other leagues events. It is both helpful and hopeful that the U.S. leagues (at a minimum) are aware and concerned about some current deficiencies but so far there is little sign they have any ideas for dealing with today's problems much less the vision to imagine tomorrow possibilities. (This is, btw, purely from a promotional standpoint and not aimed at the nuts & bolts of actual operation and/or ongoing survivability. That's another topic.)
The way forward for the leagues is to promote competitive paintball as sport. And the target audience isn't limited to other paintball players.
Next time, in Part 3B, I'll highlight some specific ways the leagues can begin to promote not only themselves but the game we play. (And, no, it won't take another month. I hope.)