Since it's a dreary wet day (and kinda chilly and, no, I don't care to hear about your blizzard) here on the Florida gulf coast I decided to take a look around and see what's happening tourney-wise in the universe of major league paintball--or, in some cases, what used to be major league paintball.In two weeks the APL kicks off their inaugural event at Camp Pendleton in SoCal running a Millennium-like (Lite?) event but so far it hasn't exactly captured the imagination (or attention) of the paintball playing community as only 31 teams are registered across 7 divisions of play and only 17 of those teams have paid. Of course there's still plenty of time to sign up and I hear the artillery range is quite beautiful at sunset. The drone of helicopters can be soothing ...
One month from yesterday the CPS opens their season in (near) Rome. They have limited the event to 60 teams and presently have 31 registered. The CPS has had a solid pro presence in the past with events that featured upcoming MS layouts in advance of Millennium events that provided, in essence, a refereed practice. Over the course of last season the MS attempted to dissuade its teams from participating in CPS events and the CPS has since become a PSP affiliate and will now be using PSP layouts and rules. So far the pro registration is down. Will it pick up? Will the league make it up in other divisions? Time will tell.
In about five weeks the PSP season will get started at Cousins outside of Dallas. At present there are 152 teams registered and 50 paid. Even with what looks like strong numbers meeting last year's participation levels may prove difficult. The long (and long lasting) winter has almost certainly made it tougher than usual on cold weather teams. On the plus side though entering year two of Champions & Challengers with all the off season roster moves and the appearance of Art Chaos the pro brackets should be a wild west shoot out filled with uncertainty and high drama. (It wouldn't surprise me if the webcast numbers explode at Dallas. In fact it would kinda surprise me if they didn't.) Looking at D1 registration I see a few would-be pro teams from last year's NPPL series that could as easily throw the D1 bracket into the same kind of chaos and cutthroat competition as the Pros. Should be exciting and fortunately I'll have a front row seat.
The first weekend of April finds the Millennium at Puget-sur-Argens, a Cote d'Azur budget backwater, opening their season in the south of France while the HK Army presents surf city paintball on Huntington Beach in southern Cali. It appears the kids are stepping in where the NPPL left off and are offering a different sort of HB experience, an HK HB experience, a Bash at the Beach maybe, where you and 5 or 6 friends can come and party with HK and, oh yeah, play some paintball. It's BYOC (bring your own cash) as entry ain't cheap and neither is an HK-style party. Instead of the "traditional"--can you really have a tradition that only lasts a decade?--7-man tourney this will be traditional 5-man center flag using a 100 point scoring system with the event limited to 45 5-man teams. Alternatively there's a 2-on-2 tourney as well.
Over in Euroland there are no advance numbers yet available but VFTD will project that the MS would be satisfied with 130 teams; 18 CPL teams, a combined 50-something for SPL 1&2 plus another 50 for the *new* D1 and D2. The latest divisional additions are simply being tested right now. Ever wondered why the MS changed the label on their divisions adding another Semi-Pro group and turning D2 & D3 into D1 and D2? Me too. the only thing that makes any sense is they're trying to sell the idea that only the very best teams in all of Euroland compete in the Mills. It may be clever but it isn't doing anything for a world standard--except dumbing it down.
Once the regionals get rolling VFTD will take a look at their numbers too and see if can make heads or tails out of the state of the tourney game over the course of this season.