Aight. I have reservations about commenting on any of this but here goes anyway. I could re-hash ancient paintball history for those of you who haven't been around long enough to know the antecedents of this latest brouhaha in a teacup to afflict paintball--but then there really aren't all that many paintball type people who really give a rat's posterior. Wait a minute--you don't know what I'm talking about? I'm talking about the recent failed "negotiation" between Valken and the PSP and the effort by Valken's chief to seek more favorable terms in the court of public opinion--or perhaps do a little preemptive cya.
Some of the confusion (and squawking) springs from the fact there are really two different but intertwined issues at play here. One is the relationship (if any) between Valken, as potential sponsor, and the PSP as a tournament promoter. The complication is preexisting sponsor relationships of long standing and the fact an ownership stake in the PSP belongs to an industry competitor. Two is the adversarial relationship between the two major league tourney series (PSP & NPPL) and the complication is that much of PB industry is determined to see one league prevail whether it's by buy out, merger or whatever. There is of course more to it but I'm not going to get bogged down in the history or personalities though both play a role in the present. However a little history will be helpful. Last year Valken was the exclusive (wink, wink) paint sponsor of the NPPL and a gear sponsor in the PSP--Valken product lines excluding paint. Recent seasons have also seen the industry struggle to support two national leagues and struggle to decide what to do about it other than push the leagues to settle it themselves.
With respect to issue One, it isn't about Valken being a sponsor of the PSP it's about them being a paint sponsor. Here the PSP must weigh in the balance the loyal support of its current paint sponsors, the value of that sponsorship and the possible consequences of accepting additional paint sponsors--particularly as the existing sponsors are manufacturers and the new guy isn't.
With respect to issue Two, this is the framework that makes a paint deal between Valken and the PSP acceptable to all parties--at least all the parties the PSP needs to be mindful of. After all, does the NPPL survive without a Valken deal? All the rest is smoke and mirrors including the 10K "surcharge" and I suppose reasonable people can reasonably disagree about the merits of the deal (although it appears to me that the majority of the outrage on Valken's behalf comes from those beholden to Valken in one way or another. Just saying.)
The upshot however has left Valken vulnerable in a couple of ways; with customers they may have made promises to with regards sponsoring the PSP and having paint available and in the arena of public opinion. To forestall those possibilities Gino starts the "extortion" talk on a private Facebook page knowing full well it will be common knowledge in hours. Valken becomes the aggrieved party, he a man of his word, company of the people blah blah blah. And, who knows, maybe some public pressure will improve his negotiating position.
As it turns out that doesn't seem to be the case. (That, btw, was ironic understatement.)
The larger question is what's really in the best interest of the game? The there can be only one--league--crowd must be disappointed. (Again.) The grow the game crowd is generally incoherent and as fickle as a spring breeze. The for the good of the game squealers and average players tend to see everything in terms of how it affects them. And most everybody wonders at one time or another why can't we all just get along? So pretty much business as usual.