Is in full force and doesn't show any signs of letting up. From here on out all bets are off. I'ma repeat about a third of what I'm hearing and I'm not even gonna worry about it's accuracy. If you don't want unvetted rumors--stop reading them. At this point I'm quite certain most of the rumor makers and powers that be in paintball don't know what's happening either so we're all in good company. Yes of course peeps have plans and everyone is trying to make moves but everything is so unsettled right now yesterday's rumor is today's deal is tomorrow's never gonna happen. Sit back, put your feet up and enjoy--but don't put any stock in any of this nonsense. (Unless I tell you otherwise.)
(Btw, I am working on World Cup Practice, part 4 and will post it soon-ish.)
The on again off again major league merger is definitely off. (Until it isn't.) As of right this minute it appears that both leagues will go about their regular bidness. Could that change? Sure, when pigs fly and NASA discovers those moon rocks they collected are petrified cream cheese. Never say never but it looks like a real long shot right now.
And again I gotta ask--since nobody has come up with a good answer yet--why so many players seem to think the merger has any real meaning for them or competitive paintball generally? If you read the rubbish being posted most of the hysterical merger mania seems to be convinced that a merger would usher in a new golden era of tournament paintball and in no time at all the President (or at least Beyonce) would be singing the national anthem before a championship final being broadcast live to billions of instant fans. Seriously, what possesses people to believe that sort of nonsense?
Back to the merger. The real issue (assuming the merger stays off the table) is how the sponsors respond, if they do, or if everything remains bidness as usual. Yes, I've said this before and it remains true today. And as before there's no telling--yet. Rumor has it the industry players generally know where they stand and what their intentions are but everyone is watching everyone else to see who, if anyone, is gonna break ranks first. And if that happens all bets are off. Again.
Okay, now about Procaps. Remember the whole Smarts Parts rigamarole? The on again off again, it's sold, it's not routine that went on for some time? (Months.) Well, it's looking like that may prove to be the case with Procaps. Reports of the sale were premature and it seems three paintball companies put in bids with GI's being the highest in total but not in cash. (According to the latest.) The three companies are the same ones as has been previously rumored; GI, KEE & Tippmann. (Yep, that Tippmann.) It may be knowledge of being the top bidder is what set off the premature rejoicing at GI--but at any rate it's all rumored now to be moot--as the bank (the ever ubiquitous "bank") has rejected all the bids. If so it's back to the drawing board for everybody. Sure, why not?
A potentially important related issue for competitive paintball teams and players is how the sale, non-sale & whoever ends up with Procaps, if it's a paintball company, affects sponsorship deals for next season. In recent years the process has lagged, with the industry dragging its metaphoric feet, and with the whole Procaps thing up in the air there's no telling how it might impact sponsorships.
With respect to the latest RL rumors there's conflicting claims. Middle or so of last season the rumor started floating that Sergey Leontiev (owner of RL) was backing off his prior commitments to the team and that was part of the internal issues going on there that resulted in the poor showing in Jersey, the rumored retirements (I mentioned last time) etc. If that was true to begin with, it is now being rumored that whatever the problems were they've been settled and Sergey (and his money) are back in full force. As to the make-up of next season's roster there's conflicting stories about the U.S. players--did they quit first?--and the apparent factoids that the Russians have been looking at some other non-Russian players recently. It wouldn't surprise me if they ended up with an all Russian roster but it also wouldn't surprise me if they didn't.
Finally there's some deep chatter, way deep chatter, about the NPPL making some substantial changes to their format. It may be something that's under discussion but frankly I don't put much, if any, stock in it at present. If I hear more about it and it sounds at any point like it might really happen I'll get into it in more detail--but for the time being it's just a seriously outlandish rumor. (Even for me--and even unvetted.)