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Old 01-11-2010, 09:58 AM #1
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Danger Zone: The Death of Pro Teams

I hope this isn't in bad taste...

Since the start of the 2009 season we have seen Rage, one of the original pro teams, take a "time out" from professional paintball. We have seen NEH step back from the pro's. Now we see Aftermath and Infamous merge, which effectively removes one more pro team from the mix.

How many more will wel lose?
Who are the teams tottering on the edge?

I have a list of 12 teams I think are in the danger zone. That may be high or may be low. And I'm putting the over/under for pro teams next year at 8 (if it's 8 on the button, the house wins). (I'm the house).

Of course, that is PSP pro teams. Who knows what happens with the USPL.

Anyone wanna throw out some guesses?
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:25 AM #2
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So – if there was only an x-ball league (PSP) this coming season I could see the following:

Boston Red Legion
Dynasty
Edmonton Impact (Maybe)
LA Infamous
LA Ironmen
Philly All A’s (Maybe)
Portland Naughty Dogs (only if the USPL fails)
Tampa Bay Damage
X-factory

And coming over from the USPL:
Arsenal (if Tom stays around)
Mutiny (If Lane lets them in)
XSV (if they get funding)
1 of these teams (Elevation, Explicit, United and Legend)

Total PSP teams (Assuming 1 league): 13

Keep in mind that my 13 has two maybes (Impact and All A's) as well as a few unknowns in the USPL
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:57 AM #3
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New Pro teams:
Entourage
VICIOUS

2009 USPL Pro Teams:
Bushwackers
Arsenal
Dynasty
Impact
Explicit
Mutiny
Legend
Infamous
Blast
United
XSV
Elevation
Naughty Dogs
Avalanche
Damage
X-Factor

2009 PSP Pro Teams:
Russian Legion
Aftershock
Ironmen
Americans
Aftermath
Dynasty
Impact
Infamous
Naughty Dogs
Damage
X-Factor



My guess as to the 8 pro teams (for PSP):
Russian Legion
Infamous/Aftermath
Ironmen
Impact
Damage
VICIOUS
Dynasty*
Aftershock OR X-Factor*

*Maybe

With Smart Parts' financial troubles and the Gardners running off to GI Milsim, I imagine that the funding that keeps the Americans going is dried up.

Dynasty seems to be losing steam also. The Infamous/Aftermath powerhouse could potentially take the top sponsorship spot from KEE (if it hasn't already) which would then limit the sponsorship dollars available to Dynasty. They can't return to JT, either, since they're now backing Entourage. Could we see Dynasty merge with another pro team? (Crazy idea, but Dynasty/Ironmen?)

The DC Arsenal that played USPL this year was filled with hired guns, but now that there may potentially be a large number of north east pro players available (ex-Americans and ex-Canes) maybe Arsenal (or Authority if they still exist) will pull them in to build up a team of solid "local" talent.

X-Factor & Mutiny have both have/had public/open tryouts so that potentially indicates some health in their organizations and an effort to continue their existence.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:59 AM #4
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Good call on the new teams - I had failed to include them in my list
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Old 01-11-2010, 12:18 PM #5
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heres my theory, which i think i explained to TBO earlier.

if all these pro teams keep going under they will either merge with SP teams to pool money/sponsorships. or the will eventually drop the sp division completely and make all those teams pro to make up for the lost space.
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Old 01-11-2010, 01:29 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DM6 KILLA View Post
if all these pro teams keep going under they will either merge with SP teams to pool money/sponsorships. or the will eventually drop the sp division completely and make all those teams pro to make up for the lost space.
That first idea is better. It's more likely that the pro players who miss out on spots on pro teams will then beef up the semi-pro ranks. The semi-pro division may very well end up being larger than the pro division.
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Old 01-11-2010, 01:43 PM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sumorai View Post
That first idea is better. It's more likely that the pro players who miss out on spots on pro teams will then beef up the semi-pro ranks. The semi-pro division may very well end up being larger than the pro division.
How it should be.
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Old 01-11-2010, 01:52 PM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sumorai View Post
That first idea is better. It's more likely that the pro players who miss out on spots on pro teams will then beef up the semi-pro ranks. The semi-pro division may very well end up being larger than the pro division.
gabe you know that i know you're smart but that post makes no sense at all lol.

i'm sure semi pro players would rather be called pros than pros wanting to beef up semi-pro rosters. if anything just wipe away semi-pro and make one big pro division. for the most part semi-pro and pro players are at the same skill level.
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:14 PM #9
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What makes sense is larger pools feeding into smaller more elite pools.

Having 7 Semi-Pro teams feed into 13 Pro teams is *** backwards. Out of thoes 20 you find the best 7 and thats the who are Pros. Until we have a larger player pool I don't think 13 Pro teams makes sense.

There was only 13 D1 teams at Cup...are you saying there should be more Pro teams than D1 teams?

I agree with Gabe...this tough economy will be like natual selection. The teams with the best funding/organization/$ model will stay alive. The rest will evolve or dissolve. Then with a much more competitive Semi Pro will feed into a now slimmed down Pro division.
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:59 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DM6 KILLA View Post
gabe you know that i know you're smart but that post makes no sense at all lol.

i'm sure semi pro players would rather be called pros than pros wanting to beef up semi-pro rosters. if anything just wipe away semi-pro and make one big pro division. for the most part semi-pro and pro players are at the same skill level.
Gabe's post made perfect sense dude. It isn't about what they want, its about what makes sense; having a larger semi-pro pool to work with makes life significantly easier.
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Old 01-11-2010, 03:57 PM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DM6 KILLA View Post
gabe you know that i know you're smart but that post makes no sense at all lol.

i'm sure semi pro players would rather be called pros than pros wanting to beef up semi-pro rosters. if anything just wipe away semi-pro and make one big pro division. for the most part semi-pro and pro players are at the same skill level.
You're looking at it from the players' perspective, Nick. Look at it from the perspective of the team owners, league management and sponsors. Let me take you through it step by step:

1. Sponsors are limiting the amount of funding to pro teams. This effectively limits the possible number of pro teams.

2. The league has limited the rosters of the pro teams. It's 8 players plus one alternate.

3. Team owners decide which players they place on their teams.

In 2009 there were 13 pro teams. In 2010 there may be only 8. If that is the case, then there will be around 40 pro level players with no team to play on. I'd say it's highly likely that many of them do not want to stop playing, so they'll have to find a semi-pro team to play with instead. Thus the pro players will beef up the semi-pro division.

Even if that's not the case, the situation is entirely controlled by sponsorship dollars. There are far less of them to pay for talent. Talent then, is going to be pushed around. The high end (pro) will either be pushed down to semi-pro, or pushed out of the sport. The effect would likely push further down the chain (semi-pro players joining D1 teams, D1 to D2).

If you're a team owner with a D1 team and you know there are semi-pro/pro level players around and available aren't you going to try and pick them up?

I'll be interested to see if it actually does play out this way, and if it does, how that will affect the overall level of competition.
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:01 PM #12
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Quote:
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You're looking at it from the players' perspective, Nick. Look at it from the perspective of the team owners, league management and sponsors. Let me take you through it step by step:

1. Sponsors are limiting the amount of funding to pro teams. This effectively limits the possible number of pro teams.

2. The league has limited the rosters of the pro teams. It's 8 players plus one alternate.

3. Team owners decide which players they place on their teams.

In 2009 there were 13 pro teams. In 2010 there may be only 8. If that is the case, then there will be around 40 pro level players with no team to play on. I'd say it's highly likely that many of them do not want to stop playing, so they'll have to find a semi-pro team to play with instead. Thus the pro players will beef up the semi-pro division.

Even if that's not the case, the situation is entirely controlled by sponsorship dollars. There are far less of them to pay for talent. Talent then, is going to be pushed around. The high end (pro) will either be pushed down to semi-pro, or pushed out of the sport. The effect would likely push further down the chain (semi-pro players joining D1 teams, D1 to D2).

If you're a team owner with a D1 team and you know there are semi-pro/pro level players around and available aren't you going to try and pick them up?

I'll be interested to see if it actually does play out this way, and if it does, how that will affect the overall level of competition.
i like everything you said except... the bolded part

yes, you are going to try to pick them up. however, are those players that are used to playing pro or even semi pro going to be willing to step down 1 or 2 levels? also there may be less money available for each player at the lower levels so are they going to want to pay for paintball after years of not paying much of anything? the shift you are talking about might not be as simple as you are saying. it is highly likely that we will lose a lot of great players from the sport of paintball if too many pro teams break up.
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:24 PM #13
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i like everything you said except... the bolded part

yes, you are going to try to pick them up. however, are those players that are used to playing pro or even semi pro going to be willing to step down 1 or 2 levels? also there may be less money available for each player at the lower levels so are they going to want to pay for paintball after years of not paying much of anything? the shift you are talking about might not be as simple as you are saying. it is highly likely that we will lose a lot of great players from the sport of paintball if too many pro teams break up.
True. The Canes will be an example of what may happen in this scenario, since they are dropping down from Pro to Semi-Pro or D1. What happens to the pro players since you obviously also have limits on how many pro/semi-pro players can be rostered on a semi-pro/D1 team?

It sucks that there will be lots of talented players out there who will be pushed out of the "big leagues" because of this. They'll likely still have potential homes in regional leagues like NEPL, AXBL/CXBL, WCPPL, CFOA, etc. though.
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:03 PM #14
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Not only roster limits but the player market will be more competitive. Just with Infamous Aftermath your gonna have 9 guys without a pro home.

I also found it interesting to hear Mike Hinman talking about this Infamous Aftermath merger...

He actually refrences the trickle down specificly at around 6:00....pretty much says that if you cant cut it on the program your done. Granted hes talking about his own little bubble. If a player leaves the program theres no saying he wont go to a semi-pro or D1 team. But certainly with the more competitive market youll see guys who dont have the time/money/energy to comit to a program pushed out of the national scene all together.

Pushed where? who knows...it could be to a Regional League like the NEPL/AXBL or it could be their couch for Modern Warfare 2.
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:35 PM #15
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I think more players would be pushed to retire rather then to local leagues. Most either cant afford it or after playing for free for so long wont want to pay for it esp. at the local level.
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:28 PM #16
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What needs to happen is for the paintball industry, companies, respected individiuals, etc etc to come together and make one big universal tournament. This way the funding for the tournaments are less solely one smaller amounts of people. And based on the amount of funding you give to the tournament results in the amount of income you get back. With a sustained tournament, the teams woudl be able to focus upon themselves, companies can focus on themselves, and instead of teams having sponsorships maybe they can do something like based on how you do that year you get so much money from the tournament that gos to your team to buy gear etc. (that last statement is just something that i thought of probably not the best i dea but an idea at the least). But again having one sustained highly funded tourny, would attract outside sponsors because now they know that they will be seen instead of taking the risk to choose upon certain Leagues. You can still have the local tournaments and regional tournies, but for the higher up leagues i believe one major league is vital
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:24 AM #17
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Just an update on this.

Phoenix United has announced that they are taking time off from the pro circuit.

http://www.propaintball.com/2010/01/...united-update/
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Old 01-20-2010, 05:38 PM #18
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I think scottsdale elevation went to semi pro in the psp so thats another new uspl/nppl and Arizona pro team gone.
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:32 PM #19
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I think scottsdale elevation went to semi pro in the psp so thats another new uspl/nppl and Arizona pro team gone.
damn NPPL is not doing so hot..huh? Seems like teams are dropping like flies.
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:56 PM #20
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damn NPPL is not doing so hot..huh? Seems like teams are dropping like flies.
What's the current grand total of pro teams in the NPPL?
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:51 PM #21
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Thats a good question buck
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