Thursday, January 1, 2015

Doing The Math

With yesterday's announcement by XSV that the team will take off 2015 the pro team count continues to dwindle--and I expect there to be a few more announcements. Once the dust finally settles I think the carry over from 2014 will be 12 pro teams. If that proves correct then doing the math Challengers would need to add 8 D1 teams to fill the bracket. Should 8 D1 teams be willing to move up such a move would decimate the standard of play in D1 and in Challengers. [The new standard of D1 excellence would be last year's 9th ranked team and 8 formerly D1 teams would now have a pro label slapped on them when at least half of them couldn't win in D1. Of course this routinely happens to one degree or another all the time due to the classification rules.]
One purpose in creating Challengers was to make an intermediate step between D1 and Champions because it was evident the gap (in the standard of play) was growing. The idea was to give teams a secondary pro bracket where teams would have an opportunity to develop and the best would eventually be able to compete in the Champions bracket. When promotion and relegation moves up (and down) two teams a year in accordance with the current rules there's no (significant) dilution of talent but wholesale team changes will trash the credibility of both divisions--and rightly so. (It was also a way to shoehorn more teams into Pro and still be able to maintain a viable schedule. A 12 team Pro bracket is pretty much the limit based on the current format before some matches would be forced onto other fields.)
But what alternative does the PSP have? (2 of the top 8 teams in D1 last year didn't even play all the events. Are 8 D1 teams gonna commit to competing in 5 Challengers events?)
On the other hand if my calculations are wrong there could be as many as 15 pro teams ready for 2015. (There won't be.) Of course that still requires pulling up 5 D1 teams--which isn't as bad as 8--but still not so good. Looks like more changes are coming to the pros than the ones the PSP have in mind.


Matthew Himes said...

So what the count on the carnage so far? I've begun to lose track.

Art Chaos

Baca Loco said...

Red Storm is in position to be relegated and I don't expect them to be able to continue in the PSP whether they are relegated or not. Rumor prior to Cup had one other Challenger folding and there's another Challenger that has some options but also has players looking for other situations. Finally I expect another long time team not to compete in the PSP next season.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be great. This is just what we need. New blood in all the ranks. What happens to a pro bracket where increasingly nearly half the pros are conditioned to pay, or at least find real value in not paying to play. Too many pros think they need a paycheck and the industry can't support it except in a few cases.

Next, we now have mid level teams be great top d1 teams, which makes room in all the lower brackets as well.

You can't have it both ways. You used to say the classification forces some players out. Basically, move up or out. We'll they couldn't compete so they move out. But with more of a void in d1 doesn't this trickle down and allow more teams to compete in "watered down" divisions. You might bemoan the taken crisis of watering down, but it is what it is.

Well also see players from most of the folded teams getting good picked up on other rosters adding depth there. Similar to some Shockwave guys playing on Uprising at Cup and Riverside.

Baca Loco said...

The system does move players up and out BECAUSE they are pushed to levels where can't compete.

The answer isn't to dumb down the game. It's to let teams and players find their natural level and stay as long as they like.

What you call exciting sounds to me like mediocre paintball played by "pros" in name only. I'm in favor of new blood but the opportunity needs to be earned.

Anonymous said...

"Too many pros think they need a paycheck." Huh? You ever trying paying rent or buying food without earning a paycheck first? It's difficult. The whole notion of being a "professional" anything is that you are paid for your services.

This is economics 101, if there is no pay-off, then why be a pro-player? The opportunity cost of any sort of competitive paintball is massive compared to the return. That cost only escalates as a player climbs the ranks. For most guys that cost will eventually outweigh the benefit. Generally, this occurs long before reaching the so-called "pro" bracket.

Anonymous said...

So let's just rename pro to div 1a. Does that make you happy? The pay off is the fact that you're playing the best game in the world and it's not costing you a cent.

Compensation for an activity should not be linked to how hard you work but how profitable an activity is. Payouts don't cover expenses. Exposure/marketing is questionable in most cases considering the large cost. The only financial model that makes any "sense", while being irrational and unscalable, is the benevolent owner who finds joy in paying his players and being a long for the ride as a team owner.

Here is a free gun, free paint, free plane tickets, and occasionally a few hundred bucks. Oh ya, you can also have a job working in our pro shop or warehouse, where you help directly make us money.

That's the model that can work for the sport.

Old-in-402 said...

Anonymous @ 11:10 your model was accurate . . . ten years ago. This is a rehash of a comment on a prior article but relevant to this conversation.

Anyways, it was once the norm to require your pro players to do paintball related work outside of playing 5 tournaments a year. Typically these involved jockeying the counter at the pro-shop, or becoming a tech, or reffing the field. It then spiraled into more "pro" related activities like holding camps and running tournaments which generated income for the team.

This is no longer the norm simply because there are not enough jobs to fill the roster. It is almost impossible to operate a pro-shop in the black while paying someone to jockey the counter. In all but the biggest cities, fields are drying up. Along with that go the refs they need. Along with the big buyouts and consolidations of several years ago went the positions which employed a lot of D1 and pro players.

I'll deviate from the pessimism and make a (slightly) more positive observation. When I first began playing tournaments in the auto-cocker/mag days of old I was 14. I noticed the local D1 team consisted of mostly mid to late thrity somethings. I didn't understand at the time why there was no youth. These old bastards couldn't run, they sure as shit weren't small, and they definitely lacked conditioning. But they had the one thing it took to play pro at the time . . . money. They were at their prime earning potential and were lucky enough to have jobs which allotted them time to travel.

I think we're seeing a return to those days. I think the industry blew its load too early in marketing the tournament game to kids, without having the infrastructure and economy to roll them through. This is a little harsh as it is hindsight. I recall things being much rosier pre-2k8. But, now its going to be a return to pay to play, whether you like or not. I think the game is still reeling from the recession and maybe dialing back the expectations from a player perspective is what is necessary to regroup and go forward.

Anonymous said...

If you force teams to go pro, there better sponsorships in place that cover the increased cost of being pro (including offsetting less prizes since you are now at the bottom of the pro's). Without this, you will just have a new group of pro teams that quite when they can't afford it and are no longer Amateur rated.

Reiner Schafer said...

Doing the math: Pro temas are droppoing out because they don't have enough money. Other teams move up to take their place. If those new teams don't have the money that's obviously needed, then the Pro Div WILL be watered down. Without the money, the overall quality goes down. Period.

splatkid12 said...

I like Anon's (2:42) comment. It would be cool to see the "old" warriors get back out on the field. I remember as a kid playing in the late 90's that almost everyone who really competed was in there mid 20's on. You needed to be able to afford $100/case of NPS Proballs. I don't think this will happen, but it's cool to think about.

cash said...

PSP needs to get rid of challengers division, period. It was a horrible idea to begin with and I don't think it ever did anything for the sport (other than push down teams who, for years, paid their way through the Pro division). I don't understand why every tournament series has tried to incorporate a Semi-pro-type division, it never works. There's not enough teams to support it over the long term.
If they want other divisional teams to come up into the Pro division, there should be either a buy in or a series of tournaments in the off season that serve as a feeder to the Pro level.
I also think the Pro teams should be playing their own tournament. Different days, or different month, different location, entirely. But maybe that's a conversation for another time.

Anonymous said...

12 team Pro and 8 team Challenger's would be fine.

Or you do 12 Pro and the season top 2 D1 are promoted for the following season.

Promotion and relegation is the best paintball tournament idea since ramping (oops!). A clear, performance-based path to the Professional division has to be present. Not to mention created some of the most entertaining games of the year.

The Pro bracket should be 12 teams. Going straight to 4 teams is too harsh. Teams going 3-1 and not making it is also more likely with 10 teams and that should never happen.