Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Millennium Plays Hardball

You won't see the offer below on the official MS website or their Facebook page. It is aimed at the CPL teams and in essence offers them an unfair competitive advantage going into the first event (the Hillbilly Riviera Cup at Puget-sur-Argens). It's free to play and teams can bring their own paint or buy on site at a discount. A media tower for filming is available and practices will have referees on the sidelines, etc. Along with an opportunity to play the event layout prior to its official release date and practice the new 360 M. And did I say it was free? So what's the catch?

Due to the late season kick off this year we are pleased to offer all CPL teams a free training weekend in Frankfurt on March 23rd and 24th 2013.
Not only will you be able to practice against Europe's best teams but you will also have an opportunity to test the final layout for the First Millennium event.
With the changes to the central bunker, we have many exciting new layouts that are a game changer. To ensure we start the season with truly world class competition we would very much value input from as many of Europe's top teams as possible. The official layout for Puget will only be announced after this training weekend.
For the practice you can bring your own paint, or buy on site at a very cost effective price. Accommodation will also be available at a very low cost. The field to be used will be Germany’s number One tournament site in Solms, home to the DPL Bundesliga:
The field in Solms offers pit boxes for the teams, Millennium Series high quality scoreboards and referees, media tower to take video footage, all at your disposal for free."

Well, it just happens the Millennium kids suddenly scheduled it to be the same weekend as the first CPS event of the season. Did you read Major League Preseason? Among other things it highlighted the fact that the fledgling CPS appeared to have a strong commitment from legit pro teams (mostly European) this year for their 4 event series and that the EPBF, far from representing the ideals behind the sports federation concept, was being used to limit the potential popularity of the CPS. Now the MS is providing free play that delivers an unfair competitive advantage to any CPL team that goes to Germany instead of participating in the CPS.
This is the same MS that charges 200 Euros an hour per team to play the event fields in advance. The same MS that is charging CPL teams 2000 Euros plus VAT per event for Race To 5--the same format offered by the CPS for 450 Euros--and the same MS that has premium priced the rolling bungalows at Oasis Village for the Hillbilly Riviera Cup. (Check prices directly with Oasis Village and ask yourself how much of the difference is a kickback to the MS.)
If it wasn't plain enough already the EPBF is simply another tool to control paintball except this time on an international scale and that those who have placed themselves in power have corrupted the purpose of the federation from day 1. (And I don't say that lightly as I have, in the past, defended the concept and given the current leadership the benefit of the doubt.) It should also be plain to see that the MS is frightened of the potential of the CPS. Now I've never attended a CPS event and can't vouch in any way for the quality of their events but they are offering the same format from a quarter to a third of the cost of a Millennium event in places like Venice, Paris and Milan and even if they're no better than an MS event that makes them a vastly better value. (This should also give our friends in Asia pause to reconsider their apparent whole-hearted acceptance of the federations idea at least as it's being implemented to date lest y'all be tainted by the association.)
And finally, the last thing that ought to be plain is that if the CPL teams had any brains or balls they wouldn't allow themselves to be "bought" for a free weekend of paintball. It should be very clear that the MS is trying to protect its status in Europe and that the CPL teams represent that status. Here is an opportunity to bargain with the MS with some real leverage--but of course that won't happen. And if you're a divisional team what does the MS offer you that the CPS doesn't besides higher prices and their disdain.


Anonymous said...

On top of all that, GI/DXS is leaning on all their distributors and teams to steer well clear of the CPS also...

Anonymous said...

Here are the Oasis Village prices for the day after the Hillbilly Riviera Cup ends for quick and easy comparison.

Anonymous said...

Paintball will change more then ever in Europe!
It will be two sides... loyal to your sponsor/dealer or your choose for your own vision and try to get Paintball cheaper and bigger;)

It's weak off MS and this way they loose there face and believe off the Paintballers...

anyone interested in a MS div licence? First you pay a re-ownership and a name change??!! Right... good business Paintball;) it's almost as Football FIFA haha

Nick Brockdorff said...

Wholeheartedly agree with your post Baca.

I also supported the idea of the federation... but now it seems is is barely as valid as one of the minor boxing federations - or show wrestling federations for that matter.

It is such a shame, that these people had a chance to make a real difference, but chose to take the low road.

If the CPS survives this season, I foresee a lot of teams changing sides next year, and the CPS becoming a real contender.

Missy Q said...

I foresee that the MS will succeed in coralling their teams into line and that the CPS doesn't garner enough support to survive the season.
Then I foresee that the euro-kids will moan about there not being a viable alternative to the MS, and we'll start all over again.

Teams have their chance now. They can either take the chance or squander it. From what Nick's saying above, they will likely waste the opportunity. I've heard the 'next year for sure' line a gazillion times and it isn't worth squat. CPS will starve before they become a 'contender'. 1/3 of the price and they can't pull teams from the MS? at 1/3 of the price how long can they last without support from teams and industry?

BTW - I also predicted the EPBF was going to be an MS-led joke, so I'm feeling confident about this one...

Nick Brockdorff said...

You might be right Missy

Unfortunately the timing of all this, is when a lot of teams have already booked flights and accomodation for the St. Tropez event, and paid the first installment of the 2013 license.... had this happend a month ago, things might be different.

I wish I could squander my players money and just decide to do the CPS instead, now..... but that's not how the world works, below Pro level ;)

So, all we can do now, is hope the CPA survives the year.... and then next offseason will be interesting.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see if this doesn't end up in court. From what has been published so far, it seems that Millennium, EPBF, GI and its distributors are in violation of basic antitrust laws. The goal is without a doubt to limit competition.

And overview of EU antitrust laws:
"European antitrust policy was developed from the two central rules set out in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

First, agreements between two or more independent market operators which restrict competition are prohibited by Article 101 of the Treaty. This provision covers both horizontal agreements (between actual or potential competitors operating at the same level of the supply chain) and vertical agreements (between firms operating at different levels, i.e. agreement between a manufacturer and its distributor). Only limited exceptions are foreseen in the general prohibition. The most flagrant example of illegal conduct infringing Article 101 is the creation of a cartel between competitors (which may involve price-fixing and/or market sharing).
Second, Article 102 of the Treaty prohibits firms holding a dominant position on a determined market to abuse that position, for example by charging unfair prices, by limiting production, or by refusing to innovate to the prejudice of consumers."

The way things are going it could be Millennium Series that might not be around in the future!

Unknown said...

Baca, the Asian guys are embracing the federations idea because it gives us a bit of leverage in the fight to get paintball markers(guns) legalised in many Asian countries. In the eyes of the law, markers are still considered firearms in Malaysia and Singapore. We are still deep in the battle to fight for their legality and their status to be changed to sporting equipment. If having so-called 'federations' is the way to go, then we'll embrace it fully.

Baca Loco said...

I understand completely. I wonder if the ties that are being created now to serve a useful purpose will prove later on to cause more problems, is all.