Tuesday, September 14, 2010

MLP Weekly Update

It's back! What do you mean you forgot all about it? See, that's half the problem right there; apathy. I let it slide for awhile because even I was beginning to be depressed and if you can't laugh in the face of chaos and ruin what's the point?

That and I have a particular postulate I want to put forward. (Another example of unintentional alliteration.) About World Cup participation. World Cup is different. (Huge insight, I know.) But it's different for different reasons than it used to be. (Okay, even I am a little confused at this stage but hang on, I see a little light at the end of the tunnel and I swear I don't drink Coors Light.) WC is a unique event and as a unique event, the premier event, in all of tournament paintball it is both a tournament and an experience for a lot of the teams and players who participate. That's why the numbers have always been disproportional in comparison to regular season events and continue to be. WC has typically drawn approx. 3 times as many 5-man teams than participated on average during the season. (Some years more, some less.) During 5 of the 6 years of the xball era (discounting the two year phase out of 10-man) seasonal xball participation has outnumbered 5-man participation and the WC gap for xball is well under 2:1. Those numbers suggest a couple of things. 1, xball teams tend to be more serious and committed as a higher percentage play the season relative to WC. 2, by a wide margin 5-man teams were more experience oriented and less focused on the competition and have tended to show up at Cup in much greater numbers than an analysis of xball would suggest.
I think those numbers suggest there may be something to my trickle down "cost to be competitive" theory from the 'What is Tournament Paintball? part 3' post. Particularly given the flukish drop off in seasonal 5-man play between the 05 & 06 seasons. 05 was the first year of exclusively xball and saw, on average, 96 5-man teams per event not including Cup. In 06 that number dropped to 58. And from 07 thru 09 the numbers slowly grew. In 2010 the numbers have fallen off the face of the earth but at this point it's pretty clear the general economy is having a powerful effect. I'm wondering if the 06 drop off is a reflection on when the xball format began to dominate tournament paintball and as a consequence began the process that has raised the "cost" of being competitive. In truth I have no idea but it's intriguing.
In 2010 the PSP averaged 80 Race 2-X teams per event and the last time that happened (2006) WC had 131 xball teams. Registration for Race 2-X currently stands at 131. Of course that same year, despite the big drop off in 5-man season averages WC also had 244 5-man teams participate. That's not going to happen this time around.

In the NPPL Entourage is off the pro division list (but is registered for WC) and Arsenal remains so the pros still have 13 teams. According to their website the NPPL has capped Vegas at 121 teams and by my count, discounting duplicate teams and half of the the listed teams that have no roster given, I counted 80 registered. That number could swing a few spots but should reflect a reasonably accurate number. I'm assuming the cap was intended to encourage some undecideds to make up their minds while also taking into account logistical reality. I don't know if that means 2 or 3 fields max however. Either way there's space but a third field would increase costs considerably.

In the MS the league capped their Paris Disney finale at 130 and apparently have sold out. With more than half their teams pre-paid and obligated (the locked divisions) all they needed was 69 additional teams. There is no indication that number carries any significance. In fact it looks like there are 135 teams registered but some may be on a wait list. Discounting last year's Paris event as an Open and consequently not as well attended as expected going back to 08 when Paris was the last of a 5 event season it drew 163 teams so this year's cap was probably a prudent call, particularly if they can squeeze a few additional teams in.

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