Sunday, December 19, 2010

Final Thoughts on PSP Changes 2011

No, this won't be another rant. I think I've got most of it out of my system. At this point it rather goes without saying the majority of this debate is being conducted by the clueless, the ignorant and the moronic and that includes both sides of the argument. Here's a hint (and then I'll get down to business) to those who have been converted and are intent on "helping" the PSP. Endlessly regurgitating your belief in the urgency of the need for change is not the same thing as explaining why certain changes are appropriate to the situation. So far most of the debate reminds me of this, although not nearly as amusing.

First a quick recap of the proposed changes.

• Lengthen the field 10 feet per side (Total size will now be 120 x 170 feet)
• Eliminate Pit-side coaching and communication
• Field Layouts will not be released prior to the events
• Adjust position of bunkers to better suit a wider variety of players
• Adjust classification system for D1 – Pro, now that the Semi-Pro division is absent

The lengthening of the field alone isn't a significant issue from a game play perspective. Yes, it will necessarily alter some things. (The change is also likely to be a hardship for some local fields. And it isn't true that the size of a practice field is now irrelevant because layouts won't be known.)
However, in combination with the 'new priorities' for bunker placement [change 4] the impact will be significant--and as predicted. Slower games, slower points. More clock stoppages. (Keep in mind that field design always has an impact on play of the game particularly in the lower divisions. The reason these changes will have predictable results is because the bunker set remains basically the same. It may be possible to restore field neutrality to the new field and abide by the placement priorities but only with a larger bunker set. And I don't mean larger bunkers, I mean a greater total number of bunkers.)
The elimination of pit-side coaching in and of itself is not a big deal--but it isn't the elimination of coaching either--despite the number of numbskulls who seem to think it is. Will it make any difference? Sure, the teams that already play are used to it and the players are actively involved. With the change they will be penalised for doing what has been a part of the game from Day 1. Will it encourage players and teams that object to coaching to play PSP? I can't imagine why but I also find it hard to believe how many people seemingly can't read simple English. (Our foreign friends excluded, of course.)
No release of the event layout is a worthwhile change. It's most important to the higher divisions, particularly pro. It creates an environment where the top teams can save practice money. Lots of it and remain competitive. It also has value to all divisions of play; one, as a potential money-saver and two, as a situation that will compel teams, coaches, captains and players to learn how to play, not learn how to play a specific field.
Now about the classification system. The statement is somewhat ambiguous regarding specific changes. Which is an opportunity. If the PSP is willing to consider reclassifying inactive Pro/Semi-pro & D1 players in order to give most of them an opportunity to get back into the competitive game and provide the kind of experience, skill & leadership that will improve competitive paintball and add numbers from a pool of recently active and committed players.

I know, there was really nothing new there but I did say I wanted to recap first. So I recapped the PSP positions ... and mine.

For any who may remain confused by the mountain of nonsense posted at PBN. New field dimensions--not intended to save teams money. Intended to make game more appealing to larger group of (competitive?) players. (And when I say larger I don't mean older, fatter, slower players--and neither does the PSP. It's hoping to attract players interested in tourney paintball who, for whatever reason, aren't already competing in the PSP.
Eliminate pit-side coaching--not intended to save teams money. Intended to make game more appealing to larger group of (competitive?) players.
No early release of field layout--intended to save teams money, especially the pros thru reduced expenditures of practice paint. (Perhaps) intended to push all teams and players to develop new training and practice habits that will produce better players. [Intended or not, it will.]
"Adjusting" bunkers--not intended to save teams money. Intended to make game more appealing to a larger group of (competitive?) players.
Adjust classification system--not intended to save teams money. Probably, I'm assuming, intended to resolve fact there is no more semi-pro division.

Here's one last idea--although I don't know if this one will work or not. (It's too complicated a calculation to make without hard data but there is no reason, in principle, that it shouldn't be possible.) Okay, more than one idea. Here's the first one. (It's not the complicated one, btw.) Bring back 5-man. Call it Open 5-man and allow up to two D3 ranked players. Keep it simple, keep it as inexpensive as possible. The object is to draw from off the national track--after all, that's the target group of players the PSP hopes to attract, yes? Separated from the Race 2 format it would carry none of the preconceptions of competing in Race 2 and the league would be free to organize it however it chose.
Aight, back to the last idea. In a nutshell put Raehl to work calculating how many matches of which version of the Race 2 format can be played on a single field over the course of a day. (Like he doesn't already know.) Then, crunching operating costs, (on a per field setup basis?) calculate an optimum sized event that will, if full, operate in the black. In order to ensure max participation put limits on each event. Add scarcity to the equation and the league would be in a position to control precisely the scale of each event also allowing them to be more precise in containing their costs as well. (Yes, there are additional complications created by divisions, etc. but they can be overcome.)
Huh? What's the point? The point is part of the problem the PSP faces is a lack of control over revenue. Each event is an unknown number that only comes into focus at the last minute--almost literally. This forces the league to prepare to handle some uncertain max number of participants and this inevitably increases cost throughout their system. To get greater control over costs is the only alternative to increasing revenue but there is no reason not to work on both sides of the profitability calculus.
Is that even possible? I don't know for sure but as a concept it's sound. And I'm sure the league is busy cutting costs as best they are able but maybe, just maybe they didn't think of pushing it to this extreme.

That's it. I'm done. (Cue cheering of relieved throngs.)


papa chad said...

*clap clap clap*

so your idea, is it exclusivity (a team amount cap) in divisional/some ranks? seems like that might help grassroots paintball and grassroots tournaments, as not everyone can just play national for the fact they have money.

hmm, also seems like that would bring more attention to divisional teams, making each much more important and more fun to follow. what if there were 10 D1 and 15 D2 teams. it would be fun to watch those teams, as they would consistently appear event to event.
but who picks the teams? should they be franchises? I don't claim to know how implement the idea but this one might be a good one. and of course, the money savings for the PSP.

PatrickTBV said...

As a team owner I would love to see set divisional team list for the year. I just don't think it is something that would work out right now but I would be for it. Also here's a thought how about having set teams number for the year but at the same time have the event open for more teams to sign up with a farther payment due date and min team sign up. Just an idea.

abc said...

Totally unrelated.... but if you go here

You see the frequency in the word "paintball" as it appears in over 5 million books from the year 1800 to 2010. Naturally all of the results are post-1980. Except for at least one in the year 1905-ish.

So I leave it to our reporters to find the first ever use of the word "paintball" in the English language. Fortune and glory await all who try.

Baca Loco said...

Chad & Patrick
In part the teams self-select by paying their entry in a timely manner. Part of the complication for the league is in assigning spots and making sure there are enough teams in a division to compete.
And once an event is full there might be a few possible additions around the margins in some divisions but it is, in part, the limitation on spots that helps drive sign-ups.
It's way too soon for the league to worry about or consider taking the same teams at each event because that sort of stability doesn't exist even at the pro level now. It would have to be first paid first played no exceptions. (Which would also encourage teams to pay their entries before they buy their plane tickets.)

abc said...

As far as the content of your post. Since it seems that decreasing the cost for the PSP, and subsequently the player is the main thrust it would seem the most appropriate solution is to not have an event which travels to 4 different locations every year, with the "lost" money in location fees, shipping, leasing of equipment, trucking, etc.

abc said...

I'd also say, how smart is it to decide to hold any sporting event at non-sport-specific locations?

You hold car races at a race track. You hold ski races at a ski resort.

You'll never see a ski event decide to setup a mountain inside of Wrigley Field, even though there is far more money in ski events than paintball events.

You'll never see NASCAR decide to lease part of PCH and decide to have a weekend race there every year.

Yes, there are some exceptions where a skate ramp will be setup to put on a big show, and the like. But it sure does make much more sense to invest in developing established venues.

That's a real way to cut costs, without messing with the structure of the game at all.

Anonymous said...

That would make it more of like a regional league for that area... kinda like the wcppl

raehl said...

Pretty much all of the classification updates will result in people's classification going down further and faster, and providing more flexibility for players just over a divisional threshold to play down two divisions.

In terms of "optimum size to be in the black", the answer is, as big as possible. There ratio between fixed costs and marginal costs is too big to want to turn any team away.

Missy Q said...

erm - Unless the team has fat people on it. I understand that teams should be turned away if they are considered by 14yr olds as being 'unfit'.
According to the existing PSP PBN demographic, those teams should 'drink bleach' or alternatively, 'get in shape' before they decide they want to invest their money in entering national competition. That shouldn't be too much of a problem though, as we all know that the PSP changes are designed specifically to line the pockets of the already super-rich PSP millionaires - they can forego a couple of grand from 'those kind' of teams, no problem.
In addition, I also learned from the welcoming PSP PBN clientele that fat people are actually 'gay'. I must admit that could actually help me to identify gay people in the future, as this is something I have always struggled with.

Seriously, with customers like the PSP seems to have, how can they do anything right? I wouldn't change places with lane for all the profits of the PSP combined, and that's saying something!

Baca Loco said...

Chris--glad to hear it on the classification front. That alone likely to make biggest positive difference. I hope that change is given as much fanfare when it happens as the rest of this.

Too bad but not surprising, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Missy-- Then there is the other PSP PBNers. The ones that Baca describes as the "converted helpers" many of which describe themselves as retired or former players but support and indeed like the changes. Without exception they all seem to fail to mention that they're coming out of retirement because these changes are so awesome. Even Chris-eXilict who commented under the 12/14 "Lazy Slacker" post didn't give any indication one way or the other.

Missy Q said...

true enough Anon, and in fairness I think the changes are too little too late. But having said that, if the changes were more drastic, we might have seen some young paintballers commit Hari Kiri, or even just burst into flames.