Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pushing Paintballs

Is there a new paint war coming? Calm down. I'm not suggesting there is or isn't. I'm just curious. For awhile the big boys played consolidate and gobble up some of the old paint makers; X.O., JT, Archon and Zap and whoever else. [Severe called it quits.] All the while the conventional wisdom plead poverty on behalf of the surviving paint manufacturers--which in Procaps' situation seemed to have some merit but there are/were other issues (Pulse litigation, etc.) beyond simply making and selling paintballs. Regardless, the North American market was whittled down to a couple primary players and all the while we continued to hear paint manufacturing was in dire straits as nobody had two nickels to rub together 'cus the prices were too low. (Price to whom?--but that's another post.) Meanwhile paint is being made in China, India & Europe among other places. Does our market settle down leaving RPS and Draxxus to split the market? Au contraire, despite the apparent failure of numerous other paint manufacturers all of a sudden we have a horse race again. Valken is pushing paint in a big way but not manufacturing. GI Sportz is cranking out paint and is looking to make a big splash and scoop up market share at a record pace. And even HydroTec remains in the game though their recent delays--despite re-tooling explanations--leaves their impact uncertain. Are all these people nuts or are we looking at some sort of paint Renaissance? Or will there be a bloodbath or will everybody be able to get along and survive or even thrive?

One other thing. Look at how it's being done. In recent years paint sponsorships have been sinking faster than fabled Atlantis because we are told the value of high profile teams and players is no longer an effective method of marketing, if it ever was. GI apparently disagrees. They made a strong push to deliver the best paint at last year's World Cup and have built on that success by signing 4 top pro teams along with an aggressive program of league sponsorships. Valken hasn't jumped on the team sponsorship bandwagon but they are all over league sponsorships as well. Meanwhile DXS seems to have opted to back a single horse in the big time sponsorship sweepstakes by supporting Impact but that still reflects a move away from past practices. And the KEE peeps, while retaining a few pro teams with paint deals, have countered with both nationally announced sponsorship options for divisional teams as well as some other, related sponsorship options primarily aimed at divisional teams that were presented to retailers in their network end of last week-ish via email.

It looks to me like the new (old) kids on the block are building their new brands the same way everybody else once did. Are they making a mistake? Is there another way to go? A better way to go? Or were the previous entrenched paint makers figuring they no longer needed to compete and let their sponsorships dwindle as a consequence?

9 comments:

Rauff said...

I think sponsorships trickling down to divisional teams are just simply to make the products feel more relevant to the majority of the market. Most if not all of the big teams are concentrated in the US and Europe. Spending power has always been in the hands of the lower divisions plus with markets in Asia on a steady growth manufacturers are spreading their resource is more baskets.

Whether this will work still has to be known but it is better than piling the dough on the meager number of pro teams. Believe it or not paint brands like RPS with the high end Evil and Draxxus are not widely used anywhere else but the US and EU. Trust me, in Asia we get crappy field paint for tournaments.... which is just a bitch.

JoeMalaka said...

This one brings up questions I have, as a prior divisional player where the purchasing of paint is prior setup, but if you find that some other paint is shooting better; you proceed to find a rep from that company and switch paint for the event5. Most divisional players are not held to a particular paint company, unless something else is worked out. I remember texas o so many years ago and we tried everything/ every paint to get out the end of the barrel when we found one we paid more to shot it and did better.

so my question is what sorta business do the paint sponsors of an event do(how much do they move sorta thing) and does it very from region to region depending on what the "big" fields in the area carry. Do divisional teams have an effect on how much they sell.

I ask this because as a former divisional player when I played I only cared if it shot out of the barrel and was cheap. I did not care if I shot a premium paint.

Rauff said...

Joe,

Over where I am we have very minimal choices when it comes to paint. For one, the tournament organizers are the ones who choose what paint to be sold on game day which means they are making some money off the paint sales.

Now we dont really mind if we do not shoot tournament grade paint but even if it is field paint it should shoot straight out of the barrel. I agree that cheaper paint does not mean bad paint. However paint consumption during tournaments shows a large margin of difference.

My team consumes about 20 cases of field grade paint in a local league per event. That is for 8 prelim matches only. Then we took part in World Cup Asia where we used tournament grade paint... we played 10 prelim matches and only consumed 13 cases of paint. That is a difference of 7 cases!

From a paint sponsors point we in Asia don't get much if any from sponsorships. Most to most perhaps a few free cases of paint depending on event and affiliation of organizers and local shops. So you could say 95% of teams from where I come from pay for their paint and here it costs any where from USD50 to USD80 per case depending on grade.

Personally we'll pay for better paint for the accuracy and better mark ability which in turn helps the marshals do their job better.

ryan said...

less free paint to pros turns into more sold at a discounted price to division teams. sounds smarts to me. at least there is some income selling to lower teams, plus the discounts make it look special for them all. kee is on the right track.

Reiner Schafer said...

I guess new companies see more benefit from getting their product exposed than existing companies whose names are already household words in the paintballl community.

It's a balnacing act. How much product can you give away and how much can you spend on advertising and stilll make a profit in an environment where the price has been beaten down to the bare bones. If you are new, you probably have no choice but to spend more to increse sales to the point where you can compete with similar economies of scale. It makes you wonder though into how many pieces the pie can get cut up and still maintain those same price levels.

Our wholesaler switched from Procaps to GI Milsim recently because Procaps announced a fairly hefty price increase and GI Milsim did not. But how long can GI Milsim stay there? Have they found a way to be that much more efficient in paint manufacturing/distribution?

Missy-Q said...

It's going to be a bloodbath. An absolute mess.
One group will try to buy market share, the other will do all they can to protect it, because they are alreeady making the paint.

A huge, ugly mess.

Mike said...

Cash is King on the West coast.Those stores that sponser teams and do a lot of internet sales love cash.25.00 to 30.00 a case for decent straight shooting tourny paint if you buy a bunch.Cash discount for new markers and way below list.

Anonymous said...

Of course it'll be a mess. I can see all paint but Tournament being manufactured overseas for the big boys. Lowers their bottom line and allows them to charge what they want.

Reiner Schafer said...

Anon, I can see it lowering their expenses (although maybe at the expense of quality), but how does lowering cost "allow them to charge what they want"? There is still competition in the marketplace. They can't just charge as much as they feel like charging. Ask Procaps. I'm sure they would like to (or even need to) charge more than they do to get themselves out of the hole they are in.