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?