Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Silly Season

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.)


Vijil said...

I don't think a merger would result in immediate benefits - but it's a step towards, potentially, a bunch of long term improvements. Such as proper governing bodies etc. which would mean that for example an NZ national paintball team could get government funding. So it wouldn't be a magic pill, but I think most folks see a bunch of benefits for the sport as a whole if not the current generation of players.

Baca Loco said...

I don't mean to be difficult--okay, I kinda do--but a) How do you figure a PSP/NPPL merger leads to "proper governing bodies" and b) How is it any concern of the principles involved that somehow their merger might lead to the disbursement of some government money for some other country's paintball team?
Beyond that, seems to me if the future of successful tournament ball depends on government largesse or players and teams expecting government money paintball is screwed.

dan. said...

First, I always love putting my feet up and reading your insight.

Second, any smart business (G.I., Kee, Dye?) should be looking at a fire sale - why not pick up a big company on the cheap if at all possible? And the bank says no, what do you do, up your bid or move on. I tried to buy out a bankrupt business almost three years ago - gave them my best offer, and bank said not good enough. That NEW 30,000 square foot building is still sitting empty.

Third, curious to see where ( and how much ) certain industry leaders put their real energies with having to support two leagues again . I know where one of them falls, but I'm not starting that.

Vijil said...

a) How do you figure a PSP/NPPL merger leads to "proper governing bodies"

It doesn't necessarily "lead to" it, but a single international format is a big step towards one, which a merger would get significantly closer to making a reality.

b) How is it any concern of the principles involved that somehow their merger might lead to the disbursement of some government money for some other country's paintball team?

Because that would lend legitimacy, which is one of many things that are good for the sport. It's not a direct effect, it's just one of many steps in the right direction. It would also foster a higher level of international competion rather than the usual USA stomping everyone besides the Russians and maybe the Tontons from time to time. More legitimacy.

"Beyond that, seems to me if the future of successful tournament ball depends on government largesse or players and teams expecting government money paintball is screwed."

I don't believe I said or even implied any of that. I simply meant that if governments such as ours (NZ) were to recognise the sport such that they would fund a national team, this would be very good for the sport here, and probably good for the sport in many other countries as well. More high level international competition is a good thing, right? Heck we could even have a proper World Cup if that were the case. What we have now, isn't.

Thing is I'm not content with the status quo. Maybe it's just me, but I want paintball to grow into something bigger. Not necessarily with huge TV audiences or in the Olympics, but an international sport with a true and closely fought nation vs. nation World Cup that isn't an afterthought. As a general rule Americans seem less interested in that sort of thing (see superbowl, baseball "World Series" etc.) than the rest of us. Perhaps for us it's something to do with coming from a small country with an inferiority complex, but international competition is the pinnacle.

A merger would seem to be a step towards that. A true international sport. Right now it's a true international mess. That doesn't bother me overmuch - I still get to play, and it's still fun. But damn, wouldn't it be cool...

Reiner Schafer said...

Vijil, you make some valid points, but how many other sports can boast the same professional teams playing two totally different formats of a competitive game? There is something to be said for versatility. Uniformity is highly overrated.

Mark said...

It gives me pause, although a brief one, that the failed merger of two US paintball leagues, one of which offers (could say invented) the format that the world essentially plays, while the other offers a more antiquated format, in additon to horrible reffing, and a sort of "do-it-yourself" player data-base/ranking system, and draws roughly half the amount of teams as a good regional league did in pb's hey day, and THIS can be a source of dissappointment the (pb) world-over?
Stunning. Although a brief one ;-)

Baca Loco said...

Good answer Vijil. One a lot of paintball people would love to see happen but I think you have levered a bunch of unwarranted hopes, dreams and wishes onto the idea of what a merger might have accomplished.
For example one of the sticking points going into Vegas was format. Despite all the evidence to the contrary the 7-man guys were determined that ultimately some variant with 7 players was the way to go.
Would a merger that took the one major U.S. league out of conformity with the rest of the world have gotten a step closer to where you'd like paintball to be?

Sports culture over here is different than most everywhere else and expecting or requiring leadership from U.S. paintball is a mistake, IMNeverToBeHO.

Anonymous said...

And just when you are saying that GI didn't buy Procaps they go and buy Procaps.

I wonder if they did that on purpose just to mess with you? :)

It sounds like it is a done deal now.

Baca Loco said...

I know. I've heard the same this morning and am trying to get enough to go with it--again. Silly season. Go figure.

Vijil said...

You may be right Baca - a merger wouldn't necessarily help. It certainly seemed like a chance however. In many ways it would be better for the NPPL to die off leaving the PSP to become the default One League to Rule Them All. The PSP were always more friendly with things like the UPBF and other world leagues than the NPPL ever have been. In fact I think I remember the NPPL stating at one stage in veiled but not particularly uncertain terms that they wanted to become the new world governing body, and screw the UPBF.

And perhaps you're also right on the idea that the US aren't good leaders for this. It seems to me that Millenium and especially PALS are pushing things the right direction. PALS has been bloody amazing recently as far as events and public exposure goes. Sometimes I think the Millenium format is the best thought out of all the current formats - they seem less held back by convention and more likely to try out good ideas.

Hmm. Alright then. My new motto: death to the NPPL!

Anonymous said...

Yah, that's what the industry needs for sure - more people to go out of business. Once the NPPL go away the clouds will part for sure, everyone will be better off, and PALS and the MS will form a new world order, right?

C'mon people. What are you, new?

Vijil said...

*sigh* Why you gotta make out that I said things I didn't?

It might be a step in a better direction, is all. Rather than diluting the sport. Heck even unicycling is more organised than paintball, no joke.

Dreamers gotta dream. Haters gonna hate.