Monday, November 4, 2013

Hasta Luego NPPL? Hello APL

There's breaking snooze, er, news if you happen to be a cave-dwelling hermit living in the Pyrenees. Otherwise you will recall that Mr. Curious informed the well informed readers of VFTD that the move (by PBpromotions with the backing of Valken) to dump the NPPL (name & association) was under discussion months ago. Today PBpromotions made a formal announcement that henceforth they will be promoting the APL (American Paintball League). The APL will be offering a "Millennium-style 5-man Race format" in divisions from Pro to D4. Pro will (apparently) be by invitation--and as also previously reported by Mr. Curious Valken reps have contacted some established [and former NPPL] pro teams about what it would take to get them to play APL. Beyond the basic announcement however there is little in the way of details yet.
Given their intention to follow the Millennium's current format it is unclear what if any relationship may exist between the two leagues or whether the APL will follow such features as the 3 match preliminary round or what they'll use for a rule book given the MS (& EPBF) have yet to produce an up-to-date set of rules.
As to what will become of the NPPL Mr. Curious reports that there have been rumors in recent months that Chuck Hendsch was attempting to sell what remains of the NPPL property, intellectual and physical, but has been stymied by a lack of interest--though there are elements of the Valken camp that suggest Valken may have purchased some NPPL rights at some point. That remains wholly speculative. Rumor also has it that Mr. Hendsch is also the holder of some substantial amount of the NPPL's accumulated debts though what the precise legal status may be remains unknown.
By ditching the NPPL brand and changing formats it's clear pbpromotions and Valken are hoping to buy some time and goodwill in building a competitive national league.
Without encumbering associations is it possible Chuck may find new partners and try, once again, to bring the NPPL back to life?  


Anonymous said...

Is there any indication about cooperation between APL and Millennium? Can it be counterstrike from Millennium side for PSP supporting CPS in Europe?

Baca Loco said...

None that I've heard about and I'm not sure what they could cooperate about even if they wanted to.

Anonymous said...

any word on what teams will be joining the new league?

Baca Loco said...

Nope. I know teams have been contacted, haven't heard yet if any are back on board. Will also be interesting to see which existing NPPL Pros are invited into the APL Pro line-up. Can they afford to diss anybody at this stage?

NewPro said...

The APL must've been reading past VFTD posts when making their business plan.
Srs question coach, since there are no non-industry backers and current industry suppliers are tapped,it would seem logical to suggest that the burden is on the back of the players. That being said,any improvements or added amenities, have only one revenue stream to draw from(entry fees in the PSP 's case).
Since the high cost for players to compete is the percieved "soft-underbelly" of the psp and the APL's likely point of attack with their MKT approach, would it be fair to say that even though the PSP has given the players the most professional, legitimate,organized forum for our sport,the PSP is killing itself.

Long winded I know, hopefully you catch ma drift, feel me dawg?

Nick Brockdorff said...

If you factor in the PBA cost (and yes, the ownership is not exactly the same)... the PSP is not making a lot of money.

As such, they are vulnerable to a serious contender offering a similar format.

But, the PSP (and especially Dave) are probably banking on the broadcast investment paying off, so as long as DYE is making good money, the PSP is not vulnerable in any real sense.

Anonymous said...

Dye is not making good money anywhere right now...

Baca Loco said...

I'm not seeing it. In positioning themselves as PSP Lite they are inviting a direct comparison. As they closed the NPPL season last year they were hardly seriously undercutting PSP entry fees. In order to exploit that "soft underbelly" the APL would have to deliver similar quality at a substantial cost difference and in order for the total player cost (airfare, hotels, rentals, food, paint, etc.) to be noticeably reduced the entries would have to be slashed. Even then there's a tipping point between cost vs. quality.
At this point the APL loses the last 7-man loyalists and hopes to make them up with 'no coaching' nimrods and build from there.
The PSP isn't presently vulnerable and won't be until the APL gets past the will it survive or won't it stage.

Anonymous said...

Even if PSP were vulnerable to a "serious contender", Shawn Walker isn't a serious contender.

PSP has proven they know how to run national-level tournaments.

Shawn Walker has definitively proven he has no clue how to run national-level tournaments.

Teams who think PSP costs too much are already playing regional leagues. The best Shawn can hope for is that some of those teams divert some of their money from their regional league to play his events if they happen to be close to one.

Anonymous said...

I'm just the average player and I don't want to bash the APL right away but I think they will have a very hard time competing with the PSP.


Somebody mentioned above about the broadcast paying off. Does that mean they are trying to transition to television? Or more outside sponsors and exposure?

Also, in your opinion what would you rate the webcast? How would you improve it if you were running it? Do you think the webcast should move to TV and is it ready?

Personally, I would like to see the PSP include some different camera angles. If they offered some higher shots it might help people get a better understanding. I think they should switch between camera's less because it confuses people with all the different looks. Again, these are just ideas for improvement.


dan. said...

the press release was so hard to read - i forced myself to continue past the opening "After a successful 2013 tournament season"

IF they truly believe 2013 was a successful season it begs the questions - what will they consider a successful season for 2014? More than 2 teams in D2? Requiring more than 2 fields for an event? Regional leagues are bigger than that. As a player i would be wary of a national league whose goals are set so low. OR are they kidding themselves into believing 2013 was successful? If so that's really dangerous in my opinion that you're not giving yourself an honest evaluation.

I personally would have been forthright and started with "After a rough 2013 we are looking forward to some major changes and improvements . . . . ."

Baca Loco said...

1225 Anon
As I understand it PBA's goals are incremental. First, build and audience and use that audience to reach niche advertisers. I'm sure that somewhere off in the future the ultimate goal is TV but right now it's baby steps.
I give the current webcast a solid 7 but I have notoriously high standards. :)
The first changes I would make is to define the rolls of the talking heads. Right now only Matty has a clear role and the rest mostly say whatever occurs to them. I would like more inside paintball nuts & bolts kinda content. I would also see about improving the communication between the field and booth so the guys were better equipped to inform the audience about penalty calls etc.
TV readiness is about selling the ad space not so much the product quality. It's already better than lots of stuff on TV.

There are ways to be forthright yet upbeat and forward-looking without being deceptive or delusional.
I doubt Walker considered the announcement in your terms. He just wants to frame the perception and is confident he can.

Anonymous said...

The APL has the opportunity to triumph over the PSP if they accomplish at least 1 important thing: Competent reffing.

The PSP is absolutely trash. I'd be willing to pay 10% more if the reffing was at least not terrible for the divisional teams.

Anonymous said...

If there's anyone who can offer solid reffing, it's Shawn Walker.

You'll note the puddle of sarcasm below that statement.

Anonymous said...

You mean Tony Mineo.

Anonymous said...

Tony has already been in that position for a year. Only so much you can do when Shawn Walker is the boss.

Matthew Himes said...

PBAccess coverage would be radically improved with overhead or high angle shots. Directly overhead is the only hope for seeing everyone all at once. When I saw footage of PSP games shot from an overhead drone, my brain instantly said, Yes! I want to see more of that!

Matty and the crew have made steady strides over the season in my opinion, Lasoya in particular. He seemed to actually be the most interesting to listen to on the Cup broadcast.

And yes, communication between the field/refs and the broadcast box would help a ton.