Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Prospects (and Politics) of MLP

That would be major league paintball (MLP) to the uninitiated. Here at VFTD even my fingers are lazy so I abbreviate most anything and everything one time or another. Following on yesterday's post I want to look at the (potential) ramifications of the current political track represented by the EPBF & some hypotheticals of what a merger (or the collapse of one league or the other) would really accomplish. (Both of which are far more interesting than any merger talk alone.)
But first a brief history reminder to put our speculation into context. About the time (a few years ago) when a resurgent NPPL was openly contemplating creating a European NPPL both the MS & PSP considered it beneficial to align their interests. Included in that dialogue was a minor item called the UPBF. (Minor from the PSP's point of view, not so much the other way around.) From those alignment efforts came a new format--for the MS (and eventually the PSP), general plans to slowly integrate the offerings from each league and lay the foundation for a world federation--along with all the smaller pieces of such a puzzle like national federations & the EPBF (which might someday be matched by the NAPBF, for example.) [Back then I objected on principle concerned that ultimately the PSP would end up more like the MS than the other way around. And, predictably, I was correct.]
During the intervening years elements of the MS and European paintball have continued to move forward to gain international recognition via the organizational structures they are putting into place. Not long ago outreach into Asia has gained some momentum with stronger ties between the MS & PALS along with the formation of the MPBL. Before that inclusion into the last World Games (2009)--where odd sports go that don't make the Olympics--as a demonstration sport was heralded as a great success and a step forward toward an Olympic future. (To date, very few--I know one--sports have made the crossover from WG to Olympics & the IOC has capped participant numbers making the future inclusion of new sports problematic.) And over the recent 4th of July weekend the EPBF celebrated perhaps its greatest success to date with the Nation's Cup event tacked onto Campaign Cup. Step by step the forces behind the international federation movement are making progress. In the recent VFTD post, The EPBF Strikes Back, one comment in particular offers insight into the federationist's thinking.

The comment as follows:
--"Very surprised by some comments from people which never travel outside US!
No doubt today, Millennium is by far the best series in the world in many ways. Organization, scheduling, atmosphere, reefing... (i am not even speaking about how cheap is the Millennium entry fee compare to the states)
Funny that no one see the work achieved by the millennium in most European countries. Do you American realize how strong is tournament paintball today in Europe! Just try to figure out how many European teams are competing today all over Europe and how many professional paintball sites are existing!
Do you even know that the EPBF and others confederations like the APPBF have been created to bring the sport to the Olympic games!
Do you even know that Paintball is going to be part of the World Games?
( ).
Already in 2009, Paintball was part as of the world Games in Kaohsiung as performances sports ( For your knowledge, Germany won the title ).

According to me EPBF for sure will be successful and will drive the future of Paintball.

By the way, even if some Millennium Board Members are among the executive committee, most of the members are president of Federations.
Just to finish. The EPBF president which has been elected is Laurent Hamet and for your knowledge he did in the last 15 years more things for Tournament Paintball than anybody in the Paintball world by just creating:
Quality events (Toulouse World cup in 1992 which became quickly a worldwide standard ).
7 man format
The millennium series
Xball light (race 2 format). He wrote the rules.
and now the EPBF and UPBF.
Watch out! A new era in Paintball is coming!

VFTD is not ideologically opposed to the UPBF and I certainly don't care what Europeans choose to do with European paintball but as a happening fait accompli I am concerned that North American paintball will someday (perhaps soon) discover that international paintball forms & norms are a done deal we either align with or choose to go it alone. Is that a big deal? Probably not. Will it change the competitive paintball experience over here? Cooperation with the MS already has. (I couldn't have said it better myself.) Watch out! A new era in paintball is coming!

Okay, I'm running way long so tomorrow VFTD will take a look at some MLP counterfactuals--just for fun!


houdini said...

I've done some research into this matter because I am looking for some international support to help us lobby the Singapore government to allow personal paintball marker ownership in this country.

I've spoken to the APPBF European rep about whether there are any plans to form an International Paintball Federation but from his response, it seems it is just objective at the moment rather a work in progress. (The EPBF seems the priority)

I've spoken to the Singapore Sports Council and they will only officially recognize paintball as a sport in this country if our paintball association belongs to an International Federation - either the IOC or Sport Accord (formerly the General Association of International Sports Federations)

As much as I respect the promoters that run tournament series, at the end of the day egos, money and control come into play when you try and get them to cooperate to operate an international federation.

The only solution I can see that is a win/win situation for all is that an independent body be formed to create an International Paintball Federation by people not financially involved in paintball tournament promotions. At least then none of the series owners can say someone has a hidden agenda.

SportAccord seems the easiest route to gaining formal respectability for paintball and from what I can see, there is no need for any members of the federation to adhere to only one format of paintball.

If the big league promoters could all support a call to create an independent International Paintball Federation then I'm sure many countries like Singapore could see immediate benefits.

So who's going to start the ball rolling?

Reiner Schafer said...

What advantage would current tournament organizers from around the world have in an International Paintball Federation? Realistically, I think we are a ways away from true worldwide international competition. Since that is the case, there is no need and no one is going to be motivated enough to get excited about starting such an organization.

Paintball is not going into the Olympics, probably ever. There is no market for international allstar competition, so a true "World Cup" is just a daydream by a few individuals. Right now there is barely a sustainable market for National events/series.

This dreaming big, if you build it they will come attitude has to give way to common sense at some point. Sustainability has to be in the forefront of all competitive play. Sure, dream about tomorrow, but work with what you have today.

nickgibson said...

I never really agree with ol Mr. Schafer but I think he hit the nail on the head on this one. One thing I got from this article today is there is another thing I can blame on the french. The death of true x-ball.(in major US events at least)

Reiner Schafer said...

"I never really agree with ol Mr. Schafer"

Say it ain't so! I guess that makes you wrong a lot! ;)

Anonymous said...

Though unlikely, it would be nice to see a world paintball organization, similar to FIFA. There are a few things to grab from FIFA's set up. "World Cup" every four years. Six "confederations" or leagues, by continent. FIFA has 208 teams associated with them, as well as each country's national team. Wouldn't that be nice?

Andrew Kooser said...

Though unlikely, it would be nice to see a world paintball organization, similar to FIFA. There are a few things to grab from FIFA's set up. "World Cup" every four years. Six "confederations" or leagues, by continent. FIFA has 208 teams associated with them, as well as each country's national team. Wouldn't that be nice?

Kai said...

What I don't get is, why does everyone think we have to have a single format to agree on if a world federation forms? Look at FIA for example, they have F1, WRC, Drag and every form of motorsport. Paintball doesn't have to exist in one form.

houdini said...

@ Reiner - an International PB Federation should be seen as more of a PB development organization, rather than as promoters of a World Cup/International event. There are still governments that do not distinguish between firearms and paintball markers and this is a huge issue for the development of the sport.

An International PB Federation could give credible support to lobby these governments to update their legislation/laws. They could also help with the development of youth paintball etc.

Totally agree with Kai - many paintball formats can exist under the one federation.