I heard from a reliable source this past week that powers in the PSP weren't exactly thrilled to see last week's The Monday Poll. (And given the results I suspect the NPPL kids liked it even less.) So let this be a teaching moment on why Baca is always right. The point of the poll was a) to give voice to you, the competitive player, and b) to make painfully clear that whatever reasons may be offered in favor of the 7-man format widespread popularity isn't one of them. (More on this coming later.)
(Reason a is also why I am on occasion frustrated at the lack of participation. Outlets for expressing your moods, views, opinions and general thoughts are relatively few and far between and trust me, participating here, at VFTD will get you a lot further than bitching & whining will over on PBN. On the flip side your apathy is a green light for the paintball powers-that-be to do what they want, when they want.)
Allow me to demonstrate. (We're talking about the poll again.) Given all the different options let's add up the percentages that favor any form of 7-man. That total is 16% of the vote. The total favoring some form of xball or Race 2 is 73%. In the debate over what format a unified major league ought to offer the answer seems pretty clear, doesn't it? Also of interest 18% voted for the current form of Race 2 while only 2% voted for the current form of 7-man. That, my friends, is 9:1 in favor of xball. (7-man collected most of its votes [14%] in the S7 category of Best of 3 competition that I am certain most of those voting for haven't actually played. Largely because it turned out to be a confusing pain in the --) And of course there is no way original Xball , despite receiving 24% of the vote, makes a surprise return because a) nobody could afford to play it (unless the PSP turned into the CXBL and nobody is gonna commit major league resources to playing two matches or whatever per event) and b) divisional teams would scream bloody murder if they were forced to return to a double elimination format or something similar. (I'll believe there's a real market for 10-man [5%] when somebody offers a 10-man tourney and anybody shows up.) For better or worse Xball Lite is where we're at. That is what has the majority of the grassroots support. That's what most of the regional leagues are playing. That's what Euroland is playing. That's what the developing paintball world aspires to compete in. The debate is over. For better or worse xball is the dominant competitive format.
NPPL Owners Extra: Sorry, kids, you got nothing. Stick with the claim of marketing superiority. Minus the revolving pro teams merry-go-round your events have averaged less than 70 paid teams per event in your first two years. Take the 5-man & pump teams out of the equation and the number of teams actually competing in 7-man drops noticeably. There's no real debate here, only your delusions. While I'm at it here's a prediction for y'all: Any format decision that isn't basically Race 2 will, within about ten minutes, spawn a new competing league or some cooperative competing national championship among the regional Race 2 series.
Edited for accuracy: I changed the number of paid teams on average in the above paragraph after double checking my recollection. More data can be found in the post Buy The Numbers. And if you remove 5-man & pump the number of divisional teams competing in the 7-man format averaged 40 teams during the first two years of NPPL 3.0.