Boys & Girls, Mr. C has hit the jackpot this time around. As I'm sure all of you know World Cup is complete for 2012--having finished up late yesterday afternoon. (An extensive review of the event is coming soon.) What you probably don't know is what was going on behind the scenes of an apparently serene vendors village. Nothing short of a full scale effort to sew discord and paranoia. This story is so big, so absurd and makes everyone involved look so ridiculous that Mr. Curious refuses to use any actual names. First, the manufactured issue: (Industry) Player A and (Industry) Player B warned that the rest of the industry should be afraid, very afraid, of a too powerful PSP (and by association, PBA) lest those entities become so powerful they can *gasp* dictate to the rest of the industry. Players A & B began circulating among the smaller vendors from Day 1 with their fear-mongering (apparently) with the hope of uniting the vendors behind er, them. (Not exactly the Barons of England presenting King John with the Magna Carta.) The effort (apparently) produced some results as members of the paintball industry aren't well known for either wisdom, rectitude or the precise orientation of their moral compass. In other words promise them a shiny bauble and you've got their attention.
What exactly a tournament promoter and a live media production company are supposed to be in a position to "dictate" or control, I'm not sure. The promoter invites industry members (and non-industry members) to sponsor the league in a reciprocal arrangement that ideally benefits both parties. And if the cost of sponsorship doesn't match the potential benefits sponsors don't show up. (And when they show up anyway it isn't because a promoter has them over a barrel it's because they're afraid of the competition getting a leg up if they don't show.) And the media production company is trying to sell advertising during its broadcasts.
On its face the "dictate" claim is nonsense on stilts but here's their argument: a single or dominant promoter can limit access to the paintballing public by refusing a potential sponsor or by pricing their sponsorship in such a way it effectively discriminates against the smaller or newer industry participants. Now this of course assumes the only access the industry has to the marketplace is through a tournament promoter--which is silly too--but let's, for the sake of the argument, accept it for a moment. The only time in memory the PSP has done anything similar is the beginning of this season when they restricted access to a would-be paint vendor. Why did they do that? Because the pre-existing paint vendors practically begged them to claiming they--the paint vendors--couldn't make any money if another vendor was allowed in. That decision cost the PSP thousands of dollars. Btw, one of the instigators [Player A or B] this past weekend was one of the paint companies that asked the PSP not to accept the additional paint sponsor. Are we having fun yet?
Here comes my favorite part; a little background on the Players. One of the Players created a format that at its pinnacle was a closed system, restricted media access, denied player movement and was designed to control the future of competitive paintball as sport and, drum roll please, make ceiling high stacks of cheddar for the few insiders running the show. [As Yoda might say, "The hypocrisy is strong in this one."]
The other Player has a history of helping smaller companies into oblivion while stripping them of their identity and assets and, as a distributor, introduced wholesale pricing through online outlets that undercut their retail customers and decimated the economic foundations of the game.
And the solution (to the foment they generated!) being considered by one of the Players is--wait for it--to buy into the NPPL and ostensibly fund a high quality webcast for them. Now you tell me, does that sound like somebody who wants to "defend" the industry or somebody who wants to compete for the role of "dictator?" What's really going on here is the big Players in this industry are used to calling the shots and this is just the latest round in their private competition to be the dominant Player.