Monday, February 13, 2012

The Monday Poll

Looking at team registrations for Galveston this is the fattest D1 bracket I've seen in a long time. A lot of teams bumping up and more than a few new teams jumping in. So this week The Monday Poll wants to know how you think D1 is gonna sort itself out by the time World Cup rolls around. Who will be at or near the top fighting for a series title? Pick your podium! Who will be the top three when the dust finally settles? Choose three and only three teams. (When you start picking more all you're doing is diminishing the chances of your favorite teams.)
It's a once in a while opportunity to vote more than once. Don't blow it. Pick your 3 D1 favorites and see how they end up.
Well, what are you waiting for? Get to it.

Monday Poll in Review
Excellent turnout for last weeks dueling (dual) polls although around 25% couldn't manage to vote in both polls. Bastards. Stephen Hawking gets a pass but he's the only one--and once he gets his ipad synced with his wheelchair he's out of excuses too. The rest of you lazy slackers suck. Despite your intransigence the results are pretty interesting. (And I did make a mistake. For purposes of the polls I should have duplicated the options. As it stands most options were duplicated but not all.)
After sorting out the brown-nosers (J-Rab to TBD! 21%) and the Northeastern fanboys (Yeah 187 Crew! 12%) the results in the Best poll trend toward options that may directly impact the voter. Of the top five remaining options (mandatory Virtue chip 14%, PSP return to Phoenix 8%, Houston Heat to play PSP pro 8%, PSP hires Tom Cole 6% and NPPL hires Tony Mineo 6%) 2 options directly affect players of those leagues and 2 others could easily have an impact on how those leagues operate this coming season. And in the Worst poll the results skew heavily toward options that may impact the voter which tells us, among other things, y'all are a lot more motivated to vote for stuff you don't like. Leading the Worst poll by a landslide margin was New snake bunkers added to PSP field set (42%). That compares to 4% that considered it the Best off season move. Another 10% chose making the new snake bunkers period so in essence over 50% of the Worst results identify the new Sup'Air snake bunkers. The only other option in the Worst poll in double digits is the mandatory Virtue chip being introduced in the NPPL at 13%. So there's 14% that think that was the Best move and 13% who think it was the Worst move. None of the other NPPL changes had much impact on the voting; Best--NPPL offers expanded format choices (3%) and NPPL schedules Canadian event (3%) & Worst--NPPL increases entry fees (4%) expanded format choices (3%) and Vancouver event (2%). Not much more than a blip on either poll and a wash where they overlap.
The other obvious trend is the dominance of PSP-related options over NPPL-related options. While certainly unscientific it's hard to avoid the conclusion that at least VFTD readers (& voters) are more interested in what happens in the PSP than they are the NPPL. Does that correlate to relative popularity--I suspect it probably does. For example both sides of the poll saw more interest and votes for issues that tied to teams playing the PSP over the NPPL as well. RL players to Heat; Best (7%) & Worst (7%).  Heat to play PSP Pro; Best (8%). Impact leaves PSP; Worst (5%). Cumulatively Xplicit picking up an All-Star roster, Critical moving up to pro and BLAST disbanding received 1% of the vote in both polls combined.
The only other significant vote getter in the Best poll was the PSP's return to Phoenix with 8%. And in the Worst poll it was the expansion to 5 events at 5% but since the option wasn't league specific that 5% is the sum and actually suggests the opposite--that mostly nobody has any concerns or problems with the move to 5 seasonal events.
Finally, with the top 5 vote getters in the Best poll heavily focused on team moves and the other two split by league (mandatory chip) (return to Phoenix) and more than a dozen other options receiving votes indicate little strong connection with the choices made. The Worst poll suggests the opposite with such a preponderance of the vote split only ways with the vast majority targeting one situation. While the NPPL didn't receive a ringing endorsement of most of their off season actions only the mandatory chip introduction drew a significant response either way at that was, according to the poll results, a wash. Given the way each poll trended it will be interesting to see if one result or the other has stronger real support that affects the league for good or ill. (I'm inclined to think those who thought it was the Worst move are really objecting to the cost and are misplacing their ire.) On the PSP side it's crystal clear that the new snake bunkers have created a lot of uncertainty and that negative views vastly outweigh positive ones. (And while VFTD probably has to take some credit or blame for this poll result it should be equally obvious that VFTD had marginal impact on the wider dissatisfaction being expressed around the paintball internet. As much as everyone fatally attracted to competitive paintball ought to be reading VFTD--they aren't. Yet.)


Reiner Schafer said...

Off topic, but any chance Mr. Curious has any info on the PSP lockout of Valken?

Baca Loco said...

This skirts perilously close to the out-of-bounds "gear" category so Mr. Curious isn't talking but--
Instead I will offer a couple of factoids and you can decide both their relevance and what they mean. OK?
If you are unfamiliar with the practice look up loss leader. Valken is not a paint manufacturer. Valken isn't the only industry company told they can't sell paint at PSP events.

Reiner Schafer said...

If I interpret that correctly, I don't disagree with the practice/policy. I'm not a Gino fanboy to begin with.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Hmm... since the topic is now open for debate:

I fail to see why a league would think it a negative, if a company chose to sponsor them and sold cheap paintballs to the players at events.

As long as those paintballs are not in some way non-compliant to industry standards, why would the league take a stand to keep cost up?

I may have misunderstood the gist of your post Paul, but it seems an odd policy to me?

Anonymous said...

Because the leagues are a vehicle to do a few things. Two of which are to provide sporting events for players and marketing opportunities for it's biggest sponsors.

Providing cheap paint or even low cost events to players is not one of the league's purposes. Especially, if in the process of providing low cost paint you destroy an existing sponsor that is investing heavily in the league.

The fact is we have to get used to sponsors having input and their say in the events to some degree. Coke sponsors mean you can't have Pepsi sponsors, etc.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't a problem when you couldn't get Valken paint at PSP events last year, so I can't see why it would be a problem this year.

Baca Loco said...

My factoids are just that. I am not covertly fronting PSP rationale or even a personal opinion--and I have zero intention of actively pursuing this topic.
You may however discuss it all you like.

anon2 said...

So the PSP makes you buy playing time on a snake bunker you don't want on the field and makes you buy more expensive paint. The NPPL makes you buy an RF chip, with (possibly) a lot of potential, but a potential probably none of us are equipped to do anything with other than say, "that's neat".

One league looks to the future but not really sure how to get there, another one is looking to the end of it's nose. I think that sums up the two approaches of the leagues.

Baca Loco said...

You are entitled to think whatever you like, Anon2, however poorly your thinking cap fits.

Missy Q said...

Like the man said, the leagues responsibility isn't to ensure the players get budget paint to shoot at events. Also, Valken is not 100% PEG and contains a higher amount of oil in the fill, which stains bunkers and equipment and is not 100% biodegradeable. This would be a problem for the venues. The oil actually turns into a black mark (the black isn't actually the paint residue but a type of fungus that grows in the residue in humid conditions.) That's a solid reason to decline hte sponsorship on it's own, and as KEE/Procaps do invest in the league (don't KEE still have an ownership stake?) that's another reason not to let someone come in and undercut them with a product that has a lower manufactured cost (PEG paint costs more to make).
I feel the PSP has made a sound decision here. I have no axe to grind against Valken - far from it - but I do feel that event paint should be 100% PEG, that it should not stain, and that it is 100% biodegradeable. Anything else is a step backwards and would be a sign of the league valuing short-term cash over enviromental impact and possible loss of venues, which is, i'm sure, what everyone would be bitchiong about if they had let Valken in.

Anonymous said...

So if Valken either switched over to PEG or used an alternative that didn't have the same negatives as their current formula, you would feel that the league should allow them in?

Anonymous said...

Last Anonymous:

Valken can't switch the formula when they don't know what the formula is because Valken isn't a paint manufacturer.

Valken's manufacturer in India or Korea or wherever can decide to save a few bucks by using something cheaper in the fill, that paint gets shot at a PSP event and stains the @#$% out of the venue, PSP gets stuck with an expensive clean-up bill and paintball gets a rep for destroying venues.

Missy Q said...

I would say they have one less legitimate reason to keep them out, yes.
Not that I think "because KEE and Procaps wouldn't like it" isn't a legit reason - it is. As a long term sponsor of an event-series you should expect that the people you've been throwing your money at for years will look after your interests. That's business, The PSP are right to protect their sponsors and players in this way.

Missy Q said...

While they do not have the same control over their formula as the manufacturers do, they can totally ask for a PEG product. They'll just pay more for it.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Paul: I absolutely understand why you can't debate this issue :)

As for paint fill:

Does the PSP actually have a set of requirements for the fill, and has Valken failed to fulfill those?

- they advertise that all but their cheapest rental grade, is 100 % PEG...

I must admit, I do not know everything about paint fills, but from what I understand, from people that are way more knowledgable on the subject than me, 100 % PEG is somewhat of a marketing ploy for many manufacturers, as it is close to impossible to make "Evil fill" without some content of oil (usually 3-8 % - not talking 50 % china crap here ;)) - Missy may be able to enlighten me, with his experience from the Forest paint days?

Either way, I don't really see why it is important where a product is made, as long as it fulfills the requirements (if any exist)..... It's not like certain guns or goggles are prohibited, just because they are made in Taiwan.... which they should be, if using the same rationale for all sponsors... the manufacturer have no control over whether they fulfilled their safety requirements at the factory.

As for other sponsors loosing money, by including a new competitor - that is absolutely correct.

But why are paint sponsors so special, that they need that extra protection from the league? - Other vendors don't get that? - It's not like leagues prohibit more than 3 clothing manufacturers, or gun manufacturers, etc.?

As for the leagues "job" not being providing "low cost" to the players - I am totally shocked by that statement.... cost is directly related to attendance, I do not think anyone in their right mind would dispute that. So yes, it should be in the leagues best interest, to lower cost.

If a company is willing to pay more or earn less, by providing the same service - why on earth would you say no and keep cost artificially high or revenue artificially low?

Missy-Q said...

Hi Nick, I'm guessing here, but in North America there is something of a hoop-la being made about the Valken fill at the moment. It could be that all the Valken brand is being termed with the same brush, or that MSDS info could not be provided to have the paint approved. It could also be that the other manufacturers are threatening to pull if Valken are allowed in. the league would have to make the best decision for themselves. if the other firms pull out and move to the NPPL, the key teams wouldn't get their sponsored paint and would likely also move to the other league. That's a big stick that the PSP could get hit with. The decision to keep them out doesn't really exclude anyone else, and as they were not sponsors last year it isn't money lost, just left on the table.
Ask for the cost of paint to the players not being the responsibility of the league; I stand by that. Paint prices are set by the paint sponsors, who pay for to be there. The leagues are responsible for the price of entry, for providing venues close to airports and cheap accommodation, and for the product received. Flights, car rentals, paint prices, etc. are not the leagues responsibility even though they do make efforts for the players in many of these areas.
Think about this also - If Valken enter play at the events, the cost per case goes down, for sure, but the others will either drop prices or, more likely, provide a lower quality ball at a lower price point. If most of the paint is sold at the lower price point, this effects the viability of sending a paint truck to the events and sponsoring the league in the first place. It's a fragile economy at events, for the sponsors as well as the league.
The league is a business and has to operate like one. They aren't a governing body or a charitable organization.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Well THAT explanation makes sense.... but it doesn't compute, when you hear they are argueing that DYE did not get to have their paint there either.... and that it was purely because the market could not bare 4 vendors.

I fully agree PSP would be forced to bow down to those threats..... It is understandable they did, and would be too risky to take a stand at such short notice.

But I certainly hope PSP will rethink their policies for the future, because being pushed around by one manufacturer after another, is starting to look bad :O

As for price/earnings for paint sponsors, that is a non-issue for me, because it is solved simply, mathematically:

If 3 sponsors make money at $ 45,000 - 4 would also at $ 33,750.

And actually, the one with the best quality, would make more, because teams don't skimp on quality at events, unless they are forced through a sponsorship - they only do at practice.

Reiner Schafer said...

"If 3 sponsors make money at $ 45,000 - 4 would also at $ 33,750. "

Two problems with that theory. First, fixed costs don't change and second, the more sellers there are, the more liklihood that prices will drop. If that happens, the gross profit ratio does not stay the same. Couple those two together and companies could end up taking a substantial hit.

Anonymous said...

You're weak at math there nick..

If TWO sponsors make money at 45k each, they all lose their shirts at 22.5k each. Because it costs 15k an event just to have a trailer there and staff it. So the event costs go from 24k to 19.5k while sales get cut in half... IF the pricing doesn't also go down.

It's funny when paintball players go off on the internet and act like they're all smart when they don't have any clue at all.

Nick Brockdorff said...

LOL - I'M weak at math???

Ooooh the irony :D

First, you decide to totally ignore the fact that there are 3 paint sponsors, not 2, so the revenues would not half, they would drop 25 % - all other things being equal :D

Then, 15K for truck and staff? :D - at that cost, I'll be happy to provide logistics for all manufacturers in the business :D

The real cost is more like 10K, for the truck and a couple of guys to drive it down (and back) and staff it.....

Sure, it costs more if you get all fancy about it, and want a huge trade stand there too.... but then, I thought we were talking about paint manufacturers and their need to be profitable - not about "marketing" ;)

I could make your argument work too, if I decided to set fixed cost at some random and heavily inflated number.

Either way, this is not about margins - none of the other sponsors of the league really make money off events, so again - why are paint manufacturers "special"?

Paint manufacturers are there, because if they are not, their sales outside events will drop dramatically.... field owners with tournament teams, naturally gravitate towards manufacturers that are at the events.

Anonymous said...

There are two paint sponsors:

There are two "wannabe" paint sponsors:

Double the number of vendors, half the sales per vendor.

Whether it's 15k or 10k or 20k is immaterial to the fixed cost issue, and will depend on the precise location of the event.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Oh, so what you are saying is, that G.I./DXS is only paying for 1 sponsorship - and effectively, PSP has gone from 3 to 2 paint sponsors? ;)

So why is it again there is no room for Valken? :D

This whole notion that certain paintball companies need to make a profit at events, to sponsor a league, is flawed.

Ask any manufacturer that does not sell paint, and they will tell you many events are a net loss, but generate good publicity and follow up sales.

Paint manufacturers especially, know they need to be at events, andt if they do not sponsor a league, any field owner with a team in that league, will be leaning heavily towards making a deal for his field, with a manufacturer that DOES sponsor his league of choice.

And while that is a relatively small percentage of total fields, it a very high percentage of top grade paint, which is where the good margins are at for the manufacturers.

Missy Q said...

I think you've had your questions answered Nick, you're choosing not to accept them.
Events are a very fragile economy, I know that others have offered this same explanation.
Comparing paint vendors to product vedors is pointless, they are not 'apples to apples' and any result you draw from this comparison will be flawed. The expenses incurred by a paint vendor to attend an event are waaaay higher than a product-guy.
This idea where you expect people to work at a loss at events is also flawed. The argument might have made sense in the thicker-margin days of 95-'05, but it doesn't hold water anymore. Manufacturers want sectors of their business to operate at a profit, and that includes event-sales.
You're very 2005 with your thinking here Nick, have you been away from the game for a while? I seem to remember you having a much better grasp of this type of thing. ;-)

Anonymous said...

2nd Missy.

No one needs to be a paint vendor to be a vendor at an event. There is an extra charge to sell paint to players to shoot at the event. You would be stupid to pay the vendor fee to do that and lose money, because you get no value out of it beyond what you'd get by being there and just not selling paint.

GI and KEE sponsor paint for all but one of the Pro teams. They do that partially with revenue from event paint sales. Valken has shown they absolutely will sell around dealers direct to teams at dealer pricing or lower. If PSP lets Valken in to destroy the paint price structure, KEE and GI have no reason to stay as vendors, and there goes the paint sponsorship for virtually all of the pro teams with it.

Like it or not, Valken's business model is destructive to the league, and letting them be a sponsor would cause immense damage.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Well, if paint companies NEED to make a profit at events, then it makes sense.... but then I foresee a future where only 1 paint vendor will be allowed in a league.

Also, if paint companies in fact have adopted a strategy where sponsoring is no longer about creating awareness and future sales, I expect sponsorships for Pro teams to be a thing of the past pretty soon, as those will never turn a profit.

You may be totally right Owen - it just seems illogical to me... but then, when were manufacturers in our industry ever logical? ;)

Reiner Schafer said...

Better value for a paint vendor might be to just pay the regular vendor fee and then give away up to $45,000 worth of paint. That could mean a lot of happy players walking away from your booth. Just a random thought.