1Feel free to pick your own favorite title. Be it the NPPL's World Championships, the Millennium's first ever true World Cup or the PSP's traditional World Cup all three events will be played within weeks of each other beginning with the Millennium's Paris-Chantilly event this coming weekend.
As everyone with a pulse--and an interest in competitive paintball--knows the NPPL is under new management and still struggling mightily. The Vegas event may have the second best attendance of the season but that's still only pushing 50 teams. And really, can anyone explain how staying in a dump like the Riviera on The Strip has any appeal to anyone old enough to take advantage of the entertainment available? At least before the tournament was right there--in a back parking lot--but still right there. And now that the league has sabotaged its own pro division the road to success is going to be a long and rocky one at best.
Of greater interest is the Millennium event north of Paris on the grounds of the Chantilly palace and museum complex. The league has been touting the virtues of the venue and its potential for reaching the non-paintballing public but who are they kidding? Only themselves. Sure, it's a lovely venue, even the horsetrack where the fields will be set up but is the gardens, museums and palaces crowd the ideal target demographic? Probably not. As for the players their idea of culture is Greek yogurt and a disco ball at the nearest strip club so I doubt there will be much cross over in that direction either. And despite the classy venue and (another) Nation's Cup tagged on to the proceedings attendance will be the second lowest of the season [but consistent with the Mediterranean Cup and Campaign numbers. The difference appears to be German teams attending the German (Bitburg) event.]
I also have a question or two about the national teams competition. Who picked the teams? The various national federations? If so then where did the U.S. and Canadian teams come from? And who is paying each national teams expenses? The whole event has the thumb's up stamp of approval from the EPBF (and the APPBF) but what about the UPBF or the NAPBF? And since the apparent definition of a World Cup is the participation of national teams why wasn't the first Nation's Cup earlier in the year also a World Cup event?
The weekend of the 20th of October is when the (other) World Cup will be held under the auspices of the PSP in sunny central Florida. It won't have any national teams or opening ceremonies but it will have the largest attendance and the best paintball teams in the world competing. Despite final numbers that will very likely exceed 300 teams it may prove to be less than expected. Current registrations total 330+ teams and given the consistently strong numbers this season the league was half expecting a turnout closer to 350 to 375 teams. And it could still happen but normally WC registrations come in early. There are those in the league convinced the webcast has been the primary cause of league growth but if WC doesn't sustain the numbers it leaves the hypothesis in doubt.
Can't we all just get along? Probably not. Formally laying claim to holding "the" World Cup poses a problem for the other World Cup even though Americans don't often pay all that much attention to what anyone else is doing. Using the formulations of international sport is a good way to get recognized as the representative of your sport even if your "elected" leadership are also mostly the Board of the Millennium Series and some of their business associates. And controlling national federations is a good way to protect your personal enterprises from competition. So while announcing the first true World Cup is the EPBF simply pushing its agenda or throwing down a challenge. Or both? And will that challenge be to join them or fight?