Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What's A Pro Team To Do?

There's a good back & forth in The Monday Poll comments on this subject and so I've decided to weigh in and see what the rest of y'all think. Here's the baseline question: If the current Pro teams are pushed into a circumstance where they must pick one league or the other to compete in what do they do?
One side of the argument says it's a no-brainer; the pro teams ought to stick with the PSP. That's where competitive paintball legitimacy exists. That's the league that promotes the most popular format. That's the league a modest majority of the industry support. The league that has active regional leagues promoting the same format. The league that has its bunker sets at most every local field that has an airball field. Etc.
The other side of the argument says do you put in all the years necessary and make all the sacrifices required only to be told what game you're going to play and get kicked to the curb at the whim of sponsors or the league--or, do you choose to take the risk, have a voice in your future and a stake in the game you play? And that's it. Pure and simple. Cut and dry.
In the past NPPL 1.0 (Pure Promotions) kinda, sorta promised (fingers crossed behind their backs) that a restricted pro division has some inherent value to the teams that earned a spot could trade on. At the same time the NXL didn't fool around. They sold franchises to team owners and tried to to take the shortcut to big money sports. (Not that other guys weren't doing that too.) Anyway, the point is that once that rabbit was out of the hat and paintball's elites began to think about the game as a sport and as a road that could carry them into the future there was no going back. And it's not like it was some crazy idea--okay, maybe it was some kinda crazy idea--but the further point is that the idea originated with the leagues, factory team owners and other elements of the paintball establishment.
So here we are. Two leagues. Lots of opinions about the merits of each but what we're talking about here is where does the future lie for the established pro teams? It's easy to say that any vision of greater success, real money--even just a taste, is a pipe dream in the current situation--and it probably is--but a voice, a say, a stake in something, even if it doesn't pan out, is a tangible something compared to nothing.
Look, I personally prefer xball--even in Race 2 form. I was against trying to jump start another NPPL attempt. I understand completely why the PSP thinks the pro teams are out of their minds. After all, it's the PSP that has taken all the risks, fought through the lean years and continues to deal on a daily basis with a laundry list of liabilities that must be accounted for before there's any talk of profit. But.
None of that matters. The nature of the game as it exists today means the quality of the pro teams playing give the league(s) validity. If all the NPPL pro teams boycotted the PSP are there enough established quality teams remaining to sustain a pro division?
Let's hope it doesn't come to that.


Anonymous said...

There is a reason 12-year-olds have parents, and there is a reason a league shouldn't be run by giving a say to everyone who is a Pro team.

The main difference between PSP and NPPL is PSP tells you up-front that PSP is going to make the decisions. NPPL tells teams they will have a say, but when it's Bart's money that makes the difference between operating or dieing, it's always going to come down to what Bart wants. If he doesn't get his way, he just takes the ball and goes home.

NPPL is the refuge of the people who just can't handle not being in charge but can't accept that they are not qualified to be in charge.

Anonymous said...

"The nature of the game as it exists today means the quality of the pro teams playing give the league(s) validity."
I have been thinking the opposite as of late. If there was ever a time a national league could get along without a pro division it is today.

Baca Loco said...

Hey Anon--or should I say, Lane? (Just kidding but that's a good recitation of the party line.)
Okay, what's the reason? Other than equating the pro teams to 12 year olds.

You're confusing the issues. The issue isn't about league/team relationships.

If Bart is still propping up the league and he decides to call it a day then it's probably done. That however won't change the tensions that exist or the dynamic. It will simply be an invitation for another league to come along--and it will.

Again, you're confusing the issues. The motivation in some quarters may have been ignited by a power struggle but if we ever get to the place where the NPPL pro teams agree to a PSP lockout it won't be over who runs things and who is or isn't qualified.
In fact, if (big if) the NPPL managed to run this past season in the black with 2 fields they are better positioned to survive a continuing bad economy than the PSP is.

Baca Loco said...

Anon #2
The leagues don't believe that--either one of them. Of course if it were true the PSP might happily ditch the pro division.

Missy-Q said...

To 1st Anon,
The reason 12 year-olds have parents is a simple matter of biology. It's a poor metaphor to use and it highlights an underlying contempt for the Pro-teams, presumably because you are a staunch PSP fan/employee. It is also accurate to say that not all 12 year olds have parents, although we can usually assume that they had at least one parent at some earlier stage in their lives.
Moving past the ridiculous, and highly patronising, analogy, it seems that you are more interested in talking about individuals involved in the issue, than the issue itself. By identifying Bart you have again identified your bias.
Not a productive post at all. I also think Paul does an injustice to Lane above. I think Lane has more class than you do.

Also, what exactly would 'qualify' someone to be in charge of a league?
Bart is obviously 'qualified' to be in charge of multiple car dealerships which have a far higher $turnover than a paintball league. He's clearly 'qualified' to be a success in business. Does Lane have a track record of running successful businesses? I would argue that Bart is more qualified than you are to run a league, and I can say that without even knowing/caring who you are.

Anonymous #1 said...

If all it took was being qualified to be a success in business, Pacific Paintball would not be bankrupt.

If there are teams who will call themselves Pro and set up a field there will be leagues like NPPL. Believing that has a future is foolish. It didn't work for WDP and it didn't work for Pacific Paintball.

How about the Pro teams stop spending time on a futile effort, boycott not-PSP, focus on developing their team value ala Vicious, and potentially become valuable teams in a league that is successful because it's unified?

The teams would have to share the spoils with the league, but an Impact or TBD or Dynasty will be more valuable in a unified league that goes somewhere than as part owners of one of two leagues that go nowhere.

Baca: Why the guessing if NPPL was in the black or not? If TBD is a NPPL owner, can't you just call and ask?

Missy Q said...

To Anon #1 again. Thanks for sticking around and answering the question.

Re. the pro-teams - If they are currently part owners of one of 2 leagues that go nowhere, as you state, then why would you assume that if they just played one league (presumably you mean the PSP) then that league would then be 'going somewhere'?

First of all, if, as you claim, the league is 'going no-where' now, then why would it 'go somewhere' if it's competition were removed? It seems to me that the at least part of the necessity and motivation to 'go somewhere' will be removed, so why expect positive action?

Secondly, what do you mean by 'go somewhere'? It seems that if I were a league, and tasked with 'going somewhere', I would be able to claim a success no matter what I chose to do, seeing as it's such a loose term - what exactly do you mean by it?

Nice point you made at the end there though. Id TBD one of the owner-teams in the league Paul?

Mike said...

Baca can I ask - will TBD be playing both league's next year? Also, if you prefer Race 2 what leads to you guys playing (and absolutely dominating) the 7 man format? Your players love it? Or simply want to be the best, at all formats to validate your status as one of the best pro teams in the world.

Anonymous said...

Anon #2
If you go nowhere, aren't you still somewhere?

I thought the Pro division in the PSP had more autonomy, they don't? Who does Tony answer to?
Why, instead of asking for a piece, don't you absorb the costs it takes to put on the pro side of things. For revenue you can sell grand stand tickets, team jerseys, DVD's, rent space back to PSP for D1 & D2 finals games, and in turn you can do your own secret layouts, play race to whatever you want or old style X, or whatever it takes to neutralize the RL $ advantage.

The gold mine that is the 18 and under can still be marketed to. I'm sure APPA/PSP can be negotiated to open up the names & emails of all participants of this age group. The soft drink and gamer companies will soon be beating down the doors.

Anonymous #1 said...

One league may not go anywhere, but it has a better shot than two leagues.

Is there any more to this than Pro teams may have to choose one league or the other, and they just want to pick the one where they get to be "owners", even if there is no financial value to the title? Or do the teams actually believe there is value to the title?

Missy Q said...

Anon above.
I guess if you go nowhere you are still somewhere, as you claim, but seeing as you havn't gone anywhere, you can't claim to be 'going somewhere'

I think...

Anonymous said...

How is the 18 and under market the 'gold-mine'?

papa chad said...

because it's always been. kids get their parents to buy them things. check out a cereal box that comes with a free toy or music that is made and targeted for teens. mom and dad buy that for their kid(s).

Missy Q said...

More like a coal mine, as they are mainly buying low margin items.
To me, the gold mine is the 18-35 market. They are at least spending their own money, noot relying on a 3rd party.

Baca Loco said...

Dammit! Comments ate my first--very long--reply.

Anon #1--Pure & Pacific's problems revolved around the pursuit of TV and the commitment to their events as festivals first instead of competitive paintball tournaments.
Vicious has done a terrific job but they haven't changed the paradigm and their future success remains outside their direct control.

Anon #1 & Missy
Yes, TBD is a part owner. I do not rep the team with the league and as a consequence am not directly in the loop. There is some info I pursue, some I hear second-hand and some I don't hear. The year end bottom line is something I don't know although the word is 2010 operated in the black. Last year a couple of posts weren't well received by the league and given my responsibility to my team I don't post NPPL stuff that hasn't already made its way into the public domain. (This post was prompted by the rumor Dynasty & Impact were talking about the value of continuing to support the PSP.)

Mike--far as I know, yes. The decision was made last year by management that the stake was a potential game-changer. Many of the guys didn't like 7-man and a few had little 7-man experience. The result was we simply showed up in 2009. That didn't sit well with me and I received off season assurances we'd make more of an effort to actually compete. We added some excellent players to the roster for 2010 and were fortunate to have some success.
I want them to be the best and I've always believed it was possible but you have to commit 100% to whatever you do.

Anon #2
PSP absorbed the pro division when the NXL was put on the shelf. Tony answers to Lane. To the best of my knowledge APPA remains independent of the PSP despite the close working relationship. (If I'm mistaken I suspect Chris will let us know.)

raehl said...

APPA is a separate, independent entity from PSP.