Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valken Army Mobilizes

As the regulars know Mr. Curious keeps his (over large left) ear to the ground when he's not creeping dark alleys or peeping through grimy windows into smoke-filled rooms. Well, yesterday's stampede nearly deafened him. With his head still ringing (and in between fits of laughter) he itemized the deployment of the Valken army from friendly media resource to retail and sales agents all the way down the line to scenario team players unleashed in a coordinated attempt to raise as much hell as possible--and incidentally position themselves as the aggrieved as well as the friend of the little guy. (The irony of which is lost on those who don't know their PB Industry history.) Why is Roger Delta-Tango cursing out the PSP on Facebook when he and his cronies spend less time outside of the woods than Bigfoot?
My point isn't that there aren't any paintballers out there sincerely put out by the PSP decision not to allow Valken paint sales. There surely are. But that's not all there is to it. The effort was orchestrated from start to eventual finish. (Nor is this a first for the PB Industry other than how rapidly and vociferously the onslaught came. Gotta love social media.) My other point is that it's one thing to be justly upset and another to simply play the fool.
That said VFTD does not mean to minimize the "real world" result. The impact at ground level is that there are some competitive teams out there that won't have the cheaper paint available to them or they will choose not to play in the PSP. And that is a lose lose for both the teams and the PSP.
However, the reality of this situation goes deeper. It's origins are part of the industry's hothouse history and long-standing animosities. On the field all of us are players. Not necessarily equals but all players. Off the field there are a lot fewer players and it is frequently difficult to determine just what game they are playing.


Anonymous said...

I think they are playing the game of survival, at the moment.

Vic said...

I think they are showing lack of understanding how economy and markets work.

Anonymous said...

Nppl is now valken only? Time will tell.. waits patiently for inside scoop

Anonymous said...

Oh good, two paintball slanging matches, one either side of the pond, all within a week!

Anonymous said...

I read that at 1 PSP event that as much paint is shot as is used at a normal field for an entire year. There is plenty to go around, don't let the PSP fool you with their statement. Someone didn't want Valken selling their paint, as Baca pointed out for old standing reasons. It's the "good old boys club" still in effect after all these years. It's why paintball has a hard time unifying and advancing. Some of these people will need to retire from the sport and finally back away for the newer blood to work together and take paintball to the next step in it's evolution.

But on a serious note, Baca discovered Big Foot? Pics of shens!!

Anonymous said...

That's some funny shit.

So, in your opinion, in order for the sport to go anywhere, the good ol' boys need to leave the sport and be replaced by someone else...

...kinda like how Gino and Perlmutter et al were replaced by KEE?

Gino IS the good ol' boy. If he is being pushed out by someone, it ain't a "good ol' boys club", it's by the very venture capital firm type company you expect to save the industry!

Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous, you're a moron.

Did I say anything about being on anyones side? No. I said the good old boy network is still in control and still fighting the same decades old fights - at all our expense.

And ask again who really runs KEE. Yes, he's related to Gino. Who runs GI/DXS? Dye? Wait, how about you just re-read Baca's article so I don't have to repeat it all.

Now where are the big foot pics!

Anonymous said...

In a way your both right. National paintball was notorious for under cutting stores and fields. Psp lockout seems business as usual. I remember stores and industry leaders giving national a bad name for under cutting and selling through some 10+ home made online 'stores'

I'm more interested to see if they will give gino exclusive rights to nppl for some dumb reason. I don't care how much he under cuts them, he always makes money and it wouldnt seem smart to give him nppl flat out

Nick Brockdorff said...

This whole business of restricting sponsorships is a bad idea for the sport.

Imagine if the merger HAD happened this past off season...

Then imagine next time around it's not paint, but guns, or goggles, or loaders (or all of them) which are restricted to a couple of brands....

...Is that really what we want paintball to become?

I think the primary leagues, be that PSP, NPPL, MS or PALS, should be all inclusive, as long as companies want to pay whatever the fee is, and their products live up to whatever standards the league decides upon (sure, set high standards - I am all for quality).

Otherwise, the leagues are helping shrink our industry even more, until we get to a point where only a couple of manufacturers are left standing.

It totally makes sense for the big manufacturers to try and force through that development - it's smart business - but for the players, fields and leagues, diversity should be the better route to take, unless we all want to be even more at the mercy of industry, than we are today.

And yeah, I know the big leagues are owned by manufacturers and big distributors, and as such, players have little chance of making any change - as long as we are not organised....

Anonymous said...

If a merger had happened during the off season, none of this would probably be happening. The paint companies wouldn't have the same leverage over PSP. National player base wouldn't be split over two leagues.

But the idea that restricting paint sponsorships is bad for the sport is just plain funny. Tell that to the scenario guys paying $80+/case for field paint only. They seem to be doing just fine.

Missy Q said...

One issue is that some people see the leagues as a kind of 'player-body' that is tasked with 'doing good', campaigning for the rights of the poor downtrodden player-base, fighting the good fight against the money-grabbing industry evil and basically wiping the backsides of anyone that plays competitive paintball.
This isn't the case. They are business owners selling a product to sponsors and teams. The PSP don't represent the players, they represent themselves and their events, and as such that's what they need to look out for and protect. Any deal that jeapardises the league should be refused, whether its good for the players or not. That's business.

Reiner Schafer said...

"But the idea that restricting paint sponsorships is bad for the sport is just plain funny. Tell that to the scenario guys paying $80+/case for field paint only. They seem to be doing just fine." But I bet at $80+/case, they are not shooting nearly as much (except maybe for the odd independently wealthy guy).

Restricting paint sponsorships (or making paint more expensive) is bad for the sport, at least in the short term. In the long term would it hurt the sport? I dunno. It would definitely change the sport and whether that is good or bad is a totally different discussion.

Anonymous said...

Get over yourselves and stop letting your "love of the sport" take any semblance of intelligence you have out of the picture.
The SPORT isn't restricting sponsorship. One league, which is a business, is "restricting sponsorship". Name one successful sport in existence today that doesn't "restrict sponsorship". Just one.
You guys get full of yourselves and start acting and talking crazy.

Anonymous said...

And my God I completely missed the guy who seems to think Johnny runs KEE. You are amazingly misinformed.

Baca Loco said...

Since I am continuing to dance around my own self-imposed rules the result was a post that is more cryptic than I had hoped--apparently. On the other hand it is fascinating to see the different lenses y'all have read it thru.
For those who may have missed a more pointed discussion of the paint issue review the most recent The Monday Poll comments.

I get your point (dream, hope, aspiration) but you can't have unrestricted sponsorships with qualifiers.
What after all do you think the MS fees are when it comes to sponsors--besides another revenue source--they are clearly a barrier to keep the rabble out.

Baca Loco said...

Anon #2
Valken is the default only paint at the moment but there have been talks between the league and Valken over an exclusivity deal. Whether that will happen or not is up in the air at the moment. As is whether or not it would be rigidly enforced. (Valken exclusively except for the Pros?) Who knows?

Mark said...

Valken Army? Sure hope this doesn't mean there'll be a bunch of jits flashing peace signs at each other and saying "V!!!!!!!"

Nick Brockdorff said...

In ANY other sport/league, when the league is run by a corporation (which is the norm in the US), rather than by a federation (which is the norm in Europe), there is a body representing the participants... usually a democratic one.

That is the major difference between paintball and other sports - the players have zero leverage in paintball today.

None the less, I am SO tired of the usual "it's a business, get over it" type replies.

It's not a business to the vast majority of the participants - it's a sport.... and one thing is certain: Cynicism will change nothing.

So yes, when the "businessmen" of paintball make decisions, that are detrimental to the SPORT - I choose to speak up.

You may very well sit there and think it is "silly" or "pointless" or "naive" or whatever.... but mark my words: There will come a day when paintballers have had enough, get off their ass and get organised.... and a big part of reaching that day, is speaking up, rather than suffering in peace.

It has happened in every other sport, that people are so fond of using as examples in these type debates, and it will happen in paintball too.

Reiner Schafer said...

Nick, from your two latest posts in this thread, I'm starting to get the feeling Nick's Paintball Player Union is just around the corner.

Anonymous said...

Nick, you're ridiculous. And wrong.

The largest sports league in the United States has absolutely no participant representation AT ALL. I bet you don't even know what that league is. (It's the NCAA.)

The professional leagues are controlled by the team owners, again not the participants. The participants do have a union - but only because the participants are paid.

All major "extreme" sporting leagues in the US are owned by companies with no participant representation.

I suppose it shouldn't be surprising that you're so wrong when you're so wrong.

If PSP were raking in money hand-over-fist, there might be a claim that they are acting in their own self-interest as opposed to the interests of the sport. But they are not. They are making decisions to survive. And the league making decisions to survive are, by definition, in the interest of the sport. No league, no sport.

Nick Brockdorff said...

I guess you have difficulty reading Mr. Anonymous :)

Most other leagues (in the US), which is what I wrote, is run by corporations.... and in all those leagues, the players have their own body representing them against the league, call it a union, a federation or whatever.... but in each case, the players have leverage when stuff happens they do not agree with.

But, I guess you are oblivious to the NFL almost not happening this year, or the NHL lockout a short while back, in which case I urge you to google this stuff, then come back to the debate ;)

As for NCAA.... it is student sports, and as such has no relevance for paintbaIl.... unless you want a debate with Raehl..... If that is the case - go ahead - I'm not stopping you :D

Anonymous said...

Gotcha. So major leagues in the US have player representation, except the ones that don't. Great reasoning there Nick.

The major leagues have player unions because they don't have participants, they have EMPLOYEES. If there was money to fight over, then paintball would have a player's union too. There isn't a player's union because there is nothing for the player's union to negotiate for - what are you going to do, refuse to play until... what? The league ain't going to pay you. The league ain't going to change so that they lose money.

It's also piss-poor form to cite major pro leagues with paid athletes in a comparison to paintball. How many players unions on the Dew Tour, or XGames? Or whatever the video game tours are called? Or your local bar league, or semi-pro football leagues? Or NASCAR?

In sports where players are not employees, there is no representation. And paintball isn't far enough along to pay employees.

I'd say welcome to Wrongville, but apparently you're already a citizen.

Nick Brockdorff said...

So, your argument is, that paintballers should have no say, because the league is a business.... and they should have no say because they are not employed?

"Shut up and play - or stay away" will surely grow paintball into a real sport :D

Let's just turn back the clock a century, and run our sport like other sports did back then :D

Better yet, let's forget we call ourselves a sport entirely, then we can get rid of all those annoying athletes, that want all kinds of unreasonable things, like a say about rules, game formats, equipments, etc.

Happy now? :)

By the way, you could learn a lot by educating yourself a little bit, about how most sports are organised everywhere in the democratic world but the US.

Maybe we shouldn't model ourselves on on an organisational form, that means only full time professionals do sports, after they leave college, while everyone else gets fat in front of the TV?

But hey, what do I know? - I'm not american ;)

- On the other hand, I am not scared to put my name behind my views ;)

Anonymous said...

Nick is it really that surprising that Gino is being excluded from undercutting longtime sponsors and investors?

Cheaper paint is ideal for everyone but not if it results in the industry loosing their shirts in the end.

Nick Brockdorff said...

First, I do not view all this in terms of the persons involved, or their history.... I have no allegiance to any of the principals in the matter - and even if I did, they know me well enough to know I speak my mind, irrespective of any ties.

I don't give a crap if the companies are called Kee. G.I., Valken or Bobs Paintball Emporium - or who owns it.... my view on this is at macro level, and to some extent philosophical.

But, to answer your question: Knowing paintball and the people that run the industry and leagues.... no, what has happend is not surprising at all.... I never said I was surprised - I am just saying I wish they were wiser ;)

The decision they have made is not strategically sound, from the leagues point of view.

If the league owners were smart, they would have maintained the illusion of being a league for the players, instead of a league for the manufacturers.

Once that veil drops, players and teams will stop thinking of the PSP as a sporting league, and instead view it as a corporate money making machine.

That is a bad place to be, when players and teams have options, especially if the NPPL is smart enough to start putting more emphasis on player/team involvement with decisions on game format, rules, field designs, etc.

It is horrible PR for the PSP, to allow yourself to be seen as a corporate lackey, when you had the option to be seen as THE all-inclusive and open league for all.

If PSP really wanted to battle the NPPL into the ground this season, they would have been wise to not leave themselves vulnerable like this - instead they would have welcomed anyone, and a year from now, they would probably have been the sole rooster in the coop.

Now - that is all strategy - from a more personal perspective, I completely disagree with excluding certain manufacturers from having their product used in the primary league in our sport, as long as it fulfills whatever requirements the league chooses to set forth.

It does no good for us players or our teams, to have our primary league help kill off small business and upstarts, at the bidding of the biggest manufacturers in our sport.

It is historically proven in any industry, fewer options means higher prices, and while that is great for the survivors in the industry, when the smoke clears, it is bad for the players.

Now, I know when I write this, that I will get the usual idiots drawing parallels to NFL, MLB, NASCAR or whatever... but what they all fail to see, is that we do NOT want to model ourselves in their image, because those sports are inaccessible for most "ordinary people" as participants.

Paintballs great strength, is that we are not elitist, that anyone can play, irrespective of age and gender... when we start messing with that, we enter a dangerous territory, where we risk causing irreversible damage.... and we should be careful to try and model ourselves, on sports that have made that choice so long ago, that they are over half a century ahead of us.

Anonymous said...

idk where psp lost it but they really need to perfect their social image.

right now the nppl looks like the under dog and the psp looks like the corperate. naturally people wont support the shady business dealings of corporate structure. psp has done a terrible job of explaining away things that, easily, could have never been a problem

Anonymous said...

and by shady I mean 'shaded' being hidden behind closed doors and not following with press releases leaves un-answered questions which leaves stupid people to fill in the blanks