Friday, August 15, 2014


Faster is the mantra of the league and more to the point, PBA. It seems the conventional wisdom has settled on the notion that faster points are the only thing our ADD culture will find entertaining. And I confess I fell for it too but I'm reconsidering my position. Sure faster is better when compared to watching soccer or grass grow but those are polar extremes and it needn't be an either or proposition. Nobody very badly wants to watch a 2-1 match no matter what's at stake but it doesn't follow that 30 second points are essential to make competitive paintball entertaining. For example, imagine a maximum point match of all 30 second points. the final score is a seemingly exciting 7-6 yet that match would be 6:30 minutes of game time with 24 minutes of down town assuming neither team called a time out. Is 30 seconds of action followed by 2 minutes of dead air (or talking heads or advertising filling that dead air) really the best competitive paintball can do?
What is essential is that the audience (any audience) is provided a story to follow and that they understand that story. That story is told in words and pictures and any failure to communicate the story disconnects the match from the audience. And every story has context, a back story, a history that puts every match in relation to every other match. Who are the players? How often have these teams played each other? What are their histories? Is there any bad blood between them? Where do they come from? How long have they been around?
If paintball can tell its stories it will find an audience but in order for those stories to be compelling the audience needs to also understand how the game is played. And the truth is even some percentage of tournament players are relatively ignorant when it comes to fully understanding the game they are playing. Which means that the average paintball player who might be interested also needs to be educated to say nothing of the extended potential audience of family and friends and others who get an introduction to competitive paintball.
Unlike the field of dreams simply building it doesn't mean they will come. And focusing on one dimension to the exclusion of all else isn't a recipe for success either. The fan base for competitive paintball will only grow when we stay focused on telling the stories of our sport while continuing to educate those who show any interest. Everything else is fiddling at the margins.


Anonymous said...

I don't necessarily want to see fast points. That means that a team just blew the other team out off break and ran the flag in. Not that exciting. I don't want slow stalemates either. What is exciting to me is seeing two teams make it out and then seeing fast moves and big plays. It could be a 4 minute point but as long as during that 4 minutes you're seeing movement and dram then it's exciting.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

The answer is simple: build a better product.

Preaching to the choir will only get you so far and fewer and fewer god-fearin’, church goers are showing up on Sundays.

You might want to consider a tournament format that doesn’t completely decimate businesses with base realities, the thousand or so paintball stores/fields left remaining.

To address your second point, the paintball “story” has been told to endless verbatim and that alone isn’t doing much good from what I see here-

“Matty Marshall has been involved with paintball media […] for the past [15] years, becoming the face and voice of the paintball media in the process”


“We are doing this for you, the fan. And to create more fans. And for the players who deserve the recognition mainstream society doesn’t give them. And for the sport itself, creating elements that are needed to give the sport a fighting chance out in a world full of distractions, obligations, and competing activities.” – Matty Marshall via PbNation


“I wish I didn't have to write this and that the economy was better. I wish the mainstream companies could understand the power behind the paintball world and our demographic. I wish some people didn't think omnipotent benevolent gift angels descend from the heavens delivering free finished products for the world to consume. I wish I didn't have to, after 20 years in the game and devoting my life to trying to make people understand why paintball is so profound, and still have to say during random conversations, “No, not pro ping pong. Pro Paintball.”, with a sad inner sigh.”

A true professional.
It really is sad, actually, because that’s his job.

Crying about how the world won’t give you the attention you feel you deserve and saying it has become an unfortunate reality that the webcast now requires payment makes you a hypocrite and a pussy.

I can’t imagine acting like a depressed and spoiled child for 20 years of no effect.

I’d sooner introduce my pallet to the flavors of Smith and Wesson: a McCormick brand.

You see- that’s poetic!
--Your Favorite Asshole

Baca Loco said...

1003 Anon
More incoherent than usual. It must be the lateness of the hour. And, while I thought I was clear, you completely misunderstood the "story" I was talking about but perhaps that's because it seemed to provide the sort of soapbox you like to ascend occasionally.

Anonymous said...

So to the point of your post. The story you're talking about should require a different format.

How much effort and expense does PBA put into live broadcast?

Would it be better to film and edit each match and interview, with 3-5 solid minutes of back story and dramatic build up and then basically product individual shows?

Right now the webcast is pretty much setup to consume live, but if I wanted to show someone an awesome example of what paintball is like today, it's far too time consuming to really take in.

Could PBA retool and go to a post event video release? I know that no one would prefer that to watching the games as its happening, but there's no way to build that back story without taking some time afterwards.

You could also have "shorter" (for broadcast) games if you filmed this way because you can lose all the downtime in between points.

Baca Loco said...

312 Anon
Post production is an idea that might work but only if the actual important footage has been captured in the first place. But the nuts & bolts really wasn't to my point. I typically don't see the webcast because I'm on site. I am routinely told it's very good and getting better but don't really have the info to judge for myself.
What I do know is that complex sports that have some measure of mainstream appeal have fans that understand the rules and how the games are played so they have a context for appreciating the skill and athleticism involved. And to supplement they usually have history, location continuity and make an effort to either highlight specific players and/or the teams generally. Paintball has none of that, is new relatively speaking and nomadic.
Making tournament paintball accessible to more people isn't a matter of speeding up the pace of play--even if that has appeal--it's about providing the context that enables understanding.

Bruce Anderson said...

While PBA is better and improving, it's almost worse than watching from the sidelines.

The commenting often times misses critical moves and events - "did you just see that" type of comments happen all of the time. I groan at times hearing the same cliched phrases pieced together as if it was some kind of tetris game for color commentary.

The angles don't really show the game as it is played, at all. I understand the limitations of the game, but when almost all the views are from the sideline looking backwards at players hiding in bunkers it's extremely difficult to get an idea of what is actually going on in the game (again high-lighting the weakness of the current booth casters).

Elevate some cameras and put them down the big lanes. Figure out how to deal with splash and direct hits without missing a beat. Make us understand the struggle.

Anonymous said...

People know how to play paintball.
People have played paintball before.
People understand the game of paintball.
People have seen the interviews, features, biographies and tournament reporting.

People don’t like paintball.

Maybe it’s because people like you and Matty expect something for free and call people “ignorant” who don’t understand what you are trying to tell them.

Never blame the audience dog, especially when the story teller is at fault.

I understand quite clearly you haven’t had a new idea in years.
I understand the majority of the paintball industry is more concerned with the abject “struggle” than the realities of having to deal a responsible and unbiased marketplace.
I understand most of your leading personalities have no idea how to buy advertising or work with individuals different than themselves.

Maybe they just don’t like you?
Maybe paintball is full of people like you?
Maybe that attitude is what they don’t like?
Maybe that’s all your “story” is?

Try writing a new chapter, chump.

Those tens of millions of people who gave paintball a chance don’t want to do business with you?

I can’t imagine why with that limp-wristed dismissal.

-- yfjihad

Anonymous said...

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”

Baca Loco said...

431 Anon
Those look like words in English and yet make even less sense than normal. Are you hearing the voices again? Have you stopped taking your meds?

PS--still not getting it.

Anonymous said...

If you’re looking for pills, ask an expert for “The Breakdown”.

You know what would help to legitimize professional paintball and the webcast?

Drug. Tests. LOL

“PAINTBALL STORY-A 3rd Grade Novelization for Stalwarts and Idiots”- Written by YFJihadist with Illustrations by Frank Miller

Once upon a time,
A few people liked playing paintball.
But there was a problem.
Nobody else wanted to play with them.
Paintball was a lot of money.

But it was OK- Paintball is fun and it makes people happy- even if it was expensive.
People were happy with what they had.
Besides, what difference did it make if people were happy?

But paintball wasn’t happy.
Paintball wasn’t having fun.
Paintball wanted the reward without doing the work.
Paintball was sad.

So, paintball spent a lot of money.
Paintball made up a story.
Paintball invented reasons to play paintball.

People said, “We are having fun. We don’t need another reason. Why make paintball into something it isn’t?”


To most people, it sounded like a big ole’ fib-
“Without sponsorship- there is no paintball!”
“Without stats- there is NO paintball!”
“Without webcast- there is NO PAINTBALL!”
“Without US- there is NO PAINTBALL!”

Paintball was mad.
Paintball said “it’s not our fault! Everyone who doesn’t like paintball is to blame!”
“Everyone should be playing paintball!”
“Everyone should be watching paintball!”
“They ignore us!”

“Nobody understands paintball!” said paintball’s loudest voice.
But it was his job to help people understand paintball.
He sighed.
And failed.
The gun went off.
Finally, nobody gave a shit.
The End?

There is no disconnect between people’s understanding of paintball and their desire to play.

That’s a myth and a tag line and it ignores the reality and relationship the product has brought.

The "Mainstream", the majority of people, know paintball well enough to stay as far away from it as they can.

And you’re just going to have to accept that.

Be happy paintball is small with small ideas and small minds.

You aren't up to the job, Coach.

If you were, the dozens and dozens of The Rock's fans would have taken your approach more seriously.

Anonymous said...

Paintball is no more boring that golf of paintball or basketball. Gee, let's watch 10 grown men run back and forth on a court bouncing a ball and tossing it into a hoop 50 times in a row. Will he make it?! Oh he missed. Bummer. Yay he made it! Woohoo. Repeat ad naseum for 50 years.

Paintball has just as much potential in some respects, but where hampered by the fact that it sounds violent and it's not easy or cheap to find a facility to play.