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Old 12-11-2009, 09:44 AM #1
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Thread of the Week: The Value of the Label "Pro"

First off, I am disappointed. It's like no one else is even trying out there. This place is dead. DEAD. Like no one else can think of anything to talk about...

OK, new thread: the value of the "Pro" label. The value of the "Pro" label to you, the consumers.

Real simple: is Vicious any better a team because they are called pro? Would you be more or less likely to attend a Vicious clinic? I would expect most people to say "no more or less likely" but I suspect the truth is that people would be more likely to attend now. Or maybe that depends on the proximity of the clinic to the core fanbase. Maybe people close to a team wouldn't care but people in Boston would be less likely to attend a clinic held by a Semi-Pro team from Omaha than a Pro team from Omaha.

Or, another way to turn this: would people see any more value in a clinic held by Matt Darula and Benny Carroll now that they are Hurricanes instead of when they were on NEX?
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Old 12-11-2009, 10:44 AM #2
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Jeff,

There are several ways to look at this, but the example you present is a good one. Would you be more or less likely to attend a clinic held by a pro vs a clinic held by a non pro?

There is no simple answer, and there are many layers of complexity. Please keep in mind that when I use the word “I” in the following evaluation I am really talking about any local player – though these are my opinions, not those of anyone else.
1) I would be more likely to attend a clinic held by a well known/established pro (Thomas, Billy, Oliver, Nicky, BShort, etc..) then a not so well known/new pro (Darula, Benny, etc..) – I think the feeling here is that the new guys just made it and the gap is not that far between where I am and where they are.
2) I would be more likely to attend a clinic held by someone I don’t get to see that often (Oliver, Nicky, BShort) vs someone I do get to see often (Thomas, Billy, etc..) – I think it is a natural tendency to take the local guys for granted.

So it is possible that a Pro label might get you better attendance at your clinics, but is there any other value? Is there value for the industry sponsors (KEE, Pro Caps, Eclipse, DYE, etc..)? Is there value for the local guys (Fields & Stores)?

Do more teams purchase RPS paint because the Pro teams shoot it? I don’t think so. I believe they purchase RPS paint because it is consistently the best paint available. Would that change if they stopped giving away their paint to the pro teams? I don’t think so. They might “Lose” the pro teams, but all the divisional teams that pay for their paint or earn it through store credits would still be shooting their brands. If the Hurricanes don’t get sponsored by RPS this coming season will local fields that used RPS brands switch over to a different brand – say Valken – because they now sponsor the Hurricanes? Will the local player base demand Valken paint because the Hurricanes’ shoot it? I’m afraid the answer is no on both accounts.

Now, if we’re talking about clothing and gear I think there is a bit of an uptick in sales in what ever the local Pro team is using. Even when the Hurricanes selected Alien markers the local fan base began to purchase Alien markers. Maybe not in the 100s, but the number would have been near zero had the Hurricanes elected to shoot a different marker. However, the question would still be – is it worth it for the manufactures to give away 10s of guns (maybe 50 or more) to a team in order to drive/attract more business. Do they sell enough additional markers so that the profit from those can offset the cost of the sponsorship? And if they only off set the cost of the sponsorship, then what is the reason for doing it? So they really need to sell more guns and drive more profit in a region then if they didn’t do the sponsorship in the first place. Again, I’m not convinced that the add-on sales generated by sponsoring a pro team (unless you’re talking about a top 4 team) drive enough additional (net new) sales to offset the cost and drive additional profits.

Of course there are some exceptions to this line of thinking – primarily in the way of “Factory” teams, teams such as the Ironmen, All Americans and Infamous. These teams represent their company's product line 100% and are a show piece to help drive sales world wide. These teams do not represent the majority of the pro teams out there today. The other type of Pro team is a field run team – Such as Damage (just a guess on my part). If RPS decided to stop sponsoring Damage would the field switch over to another brand (say Valken) because they offered to sponsor the team – the answer is yes (in my opinion). But if no paint manufacture was sponsoring teams what paint would the field purchase? My guess would be a mix between the best available (RPS) and the cheapest (something from China).

I believe there is another topic all together: What value does the pro player bring to their local paintball community (Fields, Store, players, etc..)?

I apologize for such a lengthy response.
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:41 PM #3
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Just a quick comment on gear....I think the effect is more significant when you pair it with a more "mainstream" company. You certainly see more people shooting Egos up here than DM's....is that because of the Canes? Id say yes (I could be wrong). But when you take a smaller company like Alien....theres only a limited crowd that will even go for stuff like that. Most people hold a great deal of value in brand name.

I personally dont care but theres a lot of people who wouldnt be caught dead with an ICD gun even if the Naughty Dogs did shoot it for example (going back a couple years ).
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:04 PM #4
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Originally Posted by Fox4paintball View Post
Now, if we’re talking about clothing and gear I think there is a bit of an uptick in sales in what ever the local Pro team is using. Even when the Hurricanes selected Alien markers the local fan base began to purchase Alien markers. Maybe not in the 100s, but the number would have been near zero had the Hurricanes elected to shoot a different marker. However, the question would still be – is it worth it for the manufactures to give away 10s of guns (maybe 50 or more) to a team in order to drive/attract more business. Do they sell enough additional markers so that the profit from those can offset the cost of the sponsorship? And if they only off set the cost of the sponsorship, then what is the reason for doing it? So they really need to sell more guns and drive more profit in a region then if they didn’t do the sponsorship in the first place. Again, I’m not convinced that the add-on sales generated by sponsoring a pro team (unless you’re talking about a top 4 team) drive enough additional (net new) sales to offset the cost and drive additional profits.
I think you have a good thought here. I don't think it really has to do with the fact the "Pro" team in the area uses the gear as much as they best team in the area. Of course, the "Pro" team in that area is the best team but in areas without such a team, I think the best divisional team has the highest influence on the regular players and woodsball players. Giving divisional teams packages at discounts covers the cost to make the material and does generate more sales for soft goods such as pants, pads, etc.
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:18 PM #5
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Jeff, are you asking because of doing clinics or gear sales. I know why your asking, just not what. My thought is gear sales are a great promotional tool for any team if they can get the gear to sell. What i have noticed though is that teams do not put much thought in the packaging or logo. The most bad *** jersey i ever saw was the old rage jersey. Because they put a lot of thought into what would be worth buying. Same with team guns. I havent seen many teams try and figure out what the players want on there guns. In this day and age the more bombs, machine guns and naked chicks you put on something. The more you will probably sell.
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Old 12-11-2009, 02:48 PM #6
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Seekey - I think one of the driving forces behind the popularity of the EGO in this area is two fold
1) The US distribution center is located in RI

2) Big Bill (now Slim Bill) floods the market very successfully.

Dave
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:07 PM #7
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Attending a clinic is like saying your not smart enought yourself to figure out how to play. One weekend ain't gonna get you any better than if you were just a dedicated player.
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Old 12-11-2009, 04:06 PM #8
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Quote:
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Attending a clinic is like saying your not smart enought yourself to figure out how to play. One weekend ain't gonna get you any better than if you were just a dedicated player.
Huh? You don't think that a Cane can show you some stuff you never would have figured out on your own?

Bottom line is players would rather drop $100 on a new loader just to have the latest and greatest loader. Than attend a clinic and learn how to use their existing equipment better.
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Old 12-11-2009, 04:39 PM #9
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Attending a clinic is like saying your not smart enought yourself to figure out how to play. One weekend ain't gonna get you any better than if you were just a dedicated player.
Why would you waste time figuring it out yourself when you can just have a knowledgeable player show you the right way to do it? This sport has a major learning curve. Figuring it out yourself would, and does, take most people years.


As to the topic at-hand... I think the Pro label is more about mindshare. There are probably dozens of Pro players out there that even well-informed paintballers wouldn't recognize. There are always going to be some pros who are recognized better because they are veteran players, and those who are recognized for being in the limelight, and my guess is that it is primarily these people who are viewed as "pros" by the average (speedball) player. If you gave some kid the choice between a clinic taught by Billy, or a clinic taught by Mac, who do you think they'd pick?

I am sure that the being on the Canes would make people much more likely to take a clinic taught by Benny or Darula.

Does this mean you guys are going to start doing that again? I don't remember the last time I saw a post about a Canes clinic.
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Old 12-12-2009, 12:03 AM #10
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i agree with most what is said but honestly if the price is right ill take a clinic form anyone that knows what their saying just to better my game. i dont believe you have to be on a "pro" team to know something that i dont know and be able to teach it
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Old 12-12-2009, 12:44 AM #11
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I played pro and semi pro and am back when there was an am and I got there just by practice and trying to play against the best and most teams we could. And I don't of any pros around here that went to a clinic to get where their at. Clinics are for kids who want to associate with pros. Which brings us back to the question. I think having the pro lable for the player is a way garnering some respect that maybe you didn't have before and it feels good knowing that hardwork has got you to the top of where you can compete at. But for people looking at these players from the outside, especaly kids, Its a way to watch and pick up diff things and people love to use and wear what the pros wear. Pro team in the right area could have alot of influence if they know how their percieved by the younger teams.
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Old 12-12-2009, 10:37 AM #12
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here's food for thought....

what makes a "pro" able to teach? just cause he CAN do it doesnt mean he can teach it and correct peoples flaws. if that were the case...all pro's would be great coaches...which they arent (and this goes for ALL sports)

BUT!!!.....would someone be more willing to listen to someone who is a "pro" even if their info and correcting skills aren't up to par with a non-pro who is/can actualy provide more valid feedback? i say 100% yes...the pro takes the cake...
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Old 12-12-2009, 10:47 AM #13
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I played pro and semi pro and am back when there was an am and I got there just by practice and trying to play against the best and most teams we could. And I don't of any pros around here that went to a clinic to get where their at. Clinics are for kids who want to associate with pros. Which brings us back to the question. I think having the pro lable for the player is a way garnering some respect that maybe you didn't have before and it feels good knowing that hardwork has got you to the top of where you can compete at. But for people looking at these players from the outside, especaly kids, Its a way to watch and pick up diff things and people love to use and wear what the pros wear. Pro team in the right area could have alot of influence if they know how their percieved by the younger teams.
I'm going to disagree with you. I have been around for a while and to this day. if one of the paintball Legends like Bob, Rich, or Lasoya came and gave a clinic i would go because they just understand the dynamics of the game so much better than any average pro. And i also think most pro's have enough experince to teach newer players about whats going on on the field as well as techniques in being a better technical player. But the problem with paintball is that everyone thinks they know whats best and that practicing over and over again will make you better. I dont agree with that, that just reinforces bad habits... like doing a run through with 9 hits on you and getting your whole team pulled....over and over again. hahaha.

So does it matter whether the team that puts on a clinic is pro or not. I can only say that depends. Could a new Semi Pro team that just got there do one, I dont think so. Could a team thats been around a long time that might be in the Semi Pro division, I.E. XSV, yes they could.
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Old 12-12-2009, 10:58 AM #14
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Old 12-12-2009, 11:54 AM #15
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Seekey - I think one of the driving forces behind the popularity of the EGO in this area is two fold
1) The US distribution center is located in RI

2) Big Bill (now Slim Bill) floods the market very successfully.

Dave
Dave I really dont think either of these played a role. I dont think when someone is buying a guy they care if the distribution center is in RI or CA. And bill didnt start pushing the egos until they started taking over the new england market which was after the canes started using them. I know as a store I have seen dm sales drop and eclipse sales go up and I think its more due to the fact that the top team in this area shoots them.

When you bought your car did you care where the distribution center was?


JG things back then were different. We had more comp teams that were willing to play and gind it out all the time. We def didnt all get along but I think that made us better players. Kids dont have the options that we use to anymore. Theres the canes that play nationals then theres nex/187 and then it just drops off. A clinic would be good to give some of the kids a push in the right direction and teach them some things that they can start doing on there own to get them on there way to the next level

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Old 12-12-2009, 06:13 PM #16
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Yeah I see what your saying, what good is prac if it's not quality practice. Just from my persective I know it takes alot of prac to refine your play but yeah I guess a clinic from the point of stearing people in the right direction and furthering their love to compete is a good thing always. But it does take repition to drill certain things home and one weekend I don't think does it. Having the pro label def brings about more people around a team. Usualy pros have better sponsorship so their name is out there more and is more recognisable from a marketing stand point and that's even risky for companies now. Kids will know there getting taught by good players. Since there's only one pro team in NE alot of the up and commers look up to the canes for style of play, attitude and def equipment. I went to painbtall wizard not to long ago and they always have a good variety of things but 3out of 4 tourny people had the gear the canes use. I seen kids there that have everything matching you guys. But according to these threads those kids would be scared to play against players as good as the canes. They just want to look good. Maybe since were talking about clincis and what it means to be a pro, and how the scene is different, why not try to bring some things back like having big Sunday team practices but with a clinic atmosphere of their to work/get better. Cause all I keep hearing is that good players/teams are on the decline and someone or something needs to step up and change.

"bad habits... Like doing a run thru with 9 hits on you and getting your entire team pulled over and over again. :-) hahaha." yeah ive cheated but I got a bad rep. cause i very rarely got penelties, never really got caught by refs. And why wouldn't I runthru all time if the point is to get kills and you always get kills and take more than just yourself what's wrong with that. Powermoves can swing the pace of the game in your favor and opens something diff up for your players to play off of. Anyways it's neither here nor there. :-)
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Old 12-12-2009, 10:28 PM #17
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You def see a large following of the Hurricanes because they represent the top of paintball, and they have proved that they are a top paintball team by their success in the pro division while being in NE. No other teams have done that, and the closest team to us is Phily All A's. The Hurricanes bring about change in tournament paintball yearly, whether it be the format they play in or the sponsors they have.

History has proved it to us. The Hurricanes got egos, and I swear, half the teams in NE switched over. They got aliens and people starting shooting aliens. How many people owned redz packs or redz pants when the Hurras were the Redz Hurricanes. How many people and teams are now Eclipse teams or shoot egos because of the hurricanes. How many teams switched to Xball or 7 man because thats what the Hurricanes were doing. Besides the fall of the NPPL, New England went from majority 7 man to majority xball, something we could debate to be the work of the Hurras and their reputation.

The value of the label pro-Depends on what you mean by value. In terms of money, sponsorships have held strong with the Hurricanes because they promote their products and many fans/players will begin to use their products. Sponsors should look at this, because the Hurricanes are a rare case. They have played and stayed in the pro tournament scene, placing in events and representing NE very positively, while having the crap weather that constantly prevents anyone from practicing.

Jeff and the Hurricanes help to change tournament paintball yearly in NE, whether it be gear or what not. The value of the label pro is huge for the Hurricanes, beucase they are the only team in NE that has played/placed/and stayed in the pro division for the past several seasons.
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Old 12-14-2009, 06:48 PM #18
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Real simple: is Vicious any better a team because they are called pro? Would you be more or less likely to attend a Vicious clinic?
I am pretty sure they could sell gear and put on paid clinics before this year if they wanted to. In fact I think people in Boston would have attended one of their clinics before one of yours, but that is besides the point. Maybe someone should just clone them since they seem to have quite a fanbase.

Anyway, off of Vicious. I personally wouldn't be any more likely to attend a Billy Bernacchia/Ollie Lang/Ryan Greenspan clinic than I would a Carroll/Darula clinic. That is me though. It is far too easy to get all the information they can show me in a weekend and put it to practice myself.

For people that actually would attend clinics I am going to go with the name sells the spots, not the pro label. Why wouldn't they know the names of the people running the clinics if they weren't the second string of the team(not saying they are that, just an example)? I personally don't know of any of their names but I know there are people who would probably attend a Palm Beach Vipers clinic before a random pro name clinic.

Also, what Bmoney said. The best noname teacher in the world could offer a clinic, but if a pro offers one too than the pro will get the players to pay.
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:29 PM #19
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I am pretty sure they could sell gear and put on paid clinics before this year if they wanted to. In fact I think people in Boston would have attended one of their clinics before one of yours, but that is besides the point. Maybe someone should just clone them since they seem to have quite a fanbase.

Anyway, off of Vicious. I personally wouldn't be any more likely to attend a Billy Bernacchia/Ollie Lang/Ryan Greenspan clinic than I would a Carroll/Darula clinic. That is me though. It is far too easy to get all the information they can show me in a weekend and put it to practice myself.

For people that actually would attend clinics I am going to go with the name sells the spots, not the pro label. Why wouldn't they know the names of the people running the clinics if they weren't the second string of the team(not saying they are that, just an example)? I personally don't know of any of their names but I know there are people who would probably attend a Palm Beach Vipers clinic before a random pro name clinic.

Also, what Bmoney said. The best noname teacher in the world could offer a clinic, but if a pro offers one too than the pro will get the players to pay.
soo you dont support the home team?
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Old 12-15-2009, 03:00 AM #20
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It's not about supporting or not supporting the home team. Threads like this are intended to help Jeff learn about the mindset of his potential fan base. Answering these questions with anything but honesty would do no one any good.

And to be clear, JMAC3 never said he wouldn't suport the home team, but that it was his opinion that he felt many others in the area would have attended a clinic held by Vicious before one held by NE Hurricanes. This does not suprise me - in fact, I had stated in my post that I feel most of the local players take the local pros for granted. Whether that is because we've grown up with them or simply because we see them more regularly then we see most pro players, I don't know.
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Old 12-15-2009, 05:42 AM #21
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The only good I've seen from the hurricanes in new england was the promotion of 187 to a higher standard. Aside from that, everything else would seem unaffected.
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