Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Making Of The Modern Pro Game, part 4

Today's installment is a short one and if you're like Paintball Industry executive types this one should have your full attention. It's ...

All Paintball companies, big and small, want to reach the widest possible audience of consumers as cheaply and effectively as possible. Nowadays they do it with sponsored teams, participation at the big events and media ad purchases but incrementally they are turning their attentions to TV. This isn’t an either/or proposition but budgets are finite and choices will have to be made. Once TV enters the equation on a routine basis it’s another slice (a big one) out of the marketing pie. Consider these options: small growing company can either sponsor low ranked Pro ream or high ranked Am team or they can help sponsor a league on TV and capture a small but glamorous slice of that league’s appeal. Part of any team’s marketing power depends on their results but the league is front and center all the time. Whose pocket do you think those future dollars are gonna line?
The same applies to the dreamed of outside of industry sponsors only more so. All they want is for potential customers to associate their product with the pleasure of Paintball and being the official snack cake of the NXL is likely to serve their interests better than choosing to support a particular team.
Let’s shift gears for a moment and ask a more basic question. How does TV help the Pro teams right now? It seems to me that while TV offers vastly greater exposure it also ups the ante on advertising and marketing budgets significantly. Short term this may draw away dollars from the teams as Corporate Paintball shifts priorities. Long term TV hopefully expands the market as it reaches the largest possible existing paintball audience and enhances the marketability of the Pro teams. There is no doubt TV would ultimately benefit the participating Pro teams but does TV also usher in the era of irrelevancy if you're not on TV? And even if you are on TV the role you play is significant. Everyone knows who the Harlem Globetrotters are but who remembers the name of the team they play? (For trivia buffs that would be the Washington Generals.) Does TV further widen the existing gulf between the haves and the have-nots? Or create an unbreachable chasm?

Part 5 looks at the economics of the Pro Game and projects the likely future.

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