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Old 02-04-2010, 04:14 PM #43
indy007
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I understand what gray-market is. I'm a gray market importer and exporter by trade. It's literally my business. I've got a stack of customs documents open in my background right now.

I just don't see anything wrong with manufacturer direct sales. That's what this is if you just drop the whole "sponsorship" gimmick to justify it. If that's what they want to do, that's what they want to do. It's none of our places to tell them who they have to support and how they should conduct their business, or even what our ideas of "best" are for the industry. If you do not like a company, the only solution is to speak with your wallet. That's it. Start a movement to boycott any company that offer sponsorship gimmicks... which is damn near all of them.

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Adaptation is surely a key to the retailers health, but in an era where equipment is disposable due to the low cost factor, what incentive for the specialized services does a dealer have?
Incentive? Seriously? Are you kidding me. It's the difference between failure, closing up shop, and keeping the lights on. It's that simple. That is there incentive. There is no obligation, moral or legal, for a manufacturer to support their business model. Further, those businesses are cutting into potential profits of the manufacturer.

I'll give you a perfect example. Currently, I'm prototyping a Land Warrior system. It cost me $150 to build and some hours of coding. It can share video feeds, voice chat, share GPS positions, and deliver scenario game content. It fits on any gun with a standard rail. It works anywhere on the planet with a cell phone signal. It costs me nothing to supply the online services to several thousand player indefinitely. It also uses nothing but readily available, cheap, off-the-shelf components.

Why did it take me, a guy with no paintball business, a hatred of scenario players, and just Notepad++ to create it? Why did no store step up to bat and develop this system, and beat me to the punch? Stupidity, laziness, and a lack of vision. The same reason they'll be going out of business while pointing fingers at everybody else.

Anybody not adapting and blaming others for their own failures deserves nothing but scorn.
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Old 02-04-2010, 04:28 PM #44
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ok heres question. if you hate scenario players so much then why the heck are you in the Scenario fourms??
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Old 02-04-2010, 04:28 PM #45
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i can say with our current sponsors everyone of them was well thought out.
of the 4 we have - one was a company we had a history with already. another was the same and we both agreed we could help each other achieve our goals and that has turned into something of greater long term goals for both of us. another was one that had pursued us and we already supported their products in the first place. that decision took a couple months to hammer out and work out the agreement. the last was one we both used and promoted for years. we didnt take any of them because they were the only ones or the best offers. we chose them because both sides could benefit from each other and we agree with, use, and approve their products or services.
now we can argue those are sponsorships but they arent bulk buy discounts either. the sticky point is the name of what we categorize them as. if we want to work on the definition we could possibly call them something else.

this post asks the reader to validate their choices, the reasons for them, and their own worth. it is a double edged sword as someone stated earlier. i am curious to see what each Team feels about their answers to those questions.

either way most of us are looking to compare our size to the guy next to us. will that be by number of sponsors, quality of the sponsors, tournys won, years played, number of magazine articles spotted in, miles traveled, or amount of followers/supporters. and in the end does it really matter ?

there could be hours of discussion and some muscle flexing from this thread.
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Old 02-04-2010, 04:29 PM #46
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Just another reason why "Delta Leads the Way"

Because we're INTELLECTUALS in addition to paintballers......

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Not you .lol....
some of us still have love for you shields lol
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Old 02-04-2010, 04:31 PM #47
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ok heres question. if you hate scenario players so much then why the heck are you in the Scenario fourms??
I don't have to like the players to enjoy the game.

There is a handful of people I like. They're generally feared, loathed, and hated by the uh... glue-eating population. Also the same people I trust to beta-test gear that makes everybody not on their sides games absolutely miserable.
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Old 02-04-2010, 04:34 PM #48
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indy007 said
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I just don't see anything wrong with manufacturer direct sales. That's what this is if you just drop the whole "sponsorship" gimmick to justify it. If that's what they want to do, that's what they want to do. It's none of our places to tell them who they have to support and how they should conduct their business, or even what our ideas of "best" are for the industry. If you do not like a company, the only solution is to speak with your wallet. That's it. Start a movement to boycott any company that offer sponsorship gimmicks... which is damn near all of them.
i agree with this
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Old 02-04-2010, 04:36 PM #49
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I don't have to like the players to enjoy the game.

There is a handful of people I like. They're generally feared, loathed, and hated by the uh... glue-eating population. Also the same people I trust to beta-test gear that makes everybody not on their sides games absolutely miserable.
LMAO glue eating lol ok im done hijacking now sorry george
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Old 02-04-2010, 04:46 PM #50
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i can say with our current sponsors everyone of them was well thought out.
of the 4 we have - one was a company we had a history with already. another was the same and we both agreed we could help each other achieve our goals and that has turned into something of greater long term goals for both of us. another was one that had pursued us and we already supported their products in the first place. that decision took a couple months to hammer out and work out the agreement. the last was one we both used and promoted for years. we didnt take any of them because they were the only ones or the best offers. we chose them because both sides could benefit from each other and we agree with, use, and approve their products or services.
now we can argue those are sponsorships but they arent bulk buy discounts either. the sticky point is the name of what we categorize them as. if we want to work on the definition we could possibly call them something else.

this post asks the reader to validate their choices, the reasons for them, and their own worth. it is a double edged sword as someone stated earlier. i am curious to see what each Team feels about their answers to those questions.

either way most of us are looking to compare our size to the guy next to us. will that be by number of sponsors, quality of the sponsors, tournys won, years played, number of magazine articles spotted in, miles traveled, or amount of followers/supporters. and in the end does it really matter ?

there could be hours of discussion and some muscle flexing from this thread.
I don't think Josh or myself were asking anybody to do anything but analyze what is being offered and to take a practical look at what that offer really is.
I don't think I am the only person scratching my head when I see sponsorships being tossed around like gold stars. I have also offered a perspective on the impact these "sponsorships" are having on the retailer.

Indy, I'm glad your innovating, but what has that got to do with the topic at hand. I know who your buddies are and I share many of the same opinions, and disagree on others. The point is the manufacturer does have a obligation to support their dealers. Those who do not wither in the end.

edit: To add to my point, to ask a retailer to stake his spaces overall health on the strength of sales related to your brand and then to steal sales by going direct to the customer which you have asked him to reach through his retail space is dishonest and more to the point unethical.
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Old 02-04-2010, 04:51 PM #51
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well you didnt ask anyone to think about it but that is one of the beauty of discussions. hearing someone elses thoughts can make new ones start popping out all over the place.
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Old 02-04-2010, 04:52 PM #52
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Oh , I want people to think, I think it's the not thinking thats got us here in the first place.
The goal of a salesman is to make you unable to hold on to your cash. In that I think the flattery they've been tossing around has lead to a lot less thinking and a lot more spending.
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Old 02-04-2010, 06:08 PM #53
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Oh , I want people to think, I think it's the not thinking thats got us here in the first place.
The goal of a salesman is to make you unable to hold on to your cash. In that I think the flattery they've been tossing around has lead to a lot less thinking and a lot more spending.
You are totally right about that. That's one of the primary reasons scenario game play has so totally stagnated. Why aren't we playing augmented reality games? Why are fields that have been in place for a decade wired up for power? Why am I still getting the same stupid take & hold mission over the radio, or in an envelope? I've done this since '97. People give the same kudos every game. Thank some sponsors, thank the generals, give away a few trinkets, call it a day, jerk each other off on the internet afterward.

Over time players leave, you just see them less & less. Eventually they're just a memory that you might be able to find on Facebook. Maybe, if they'd been smart enough to ask for something new & fresh, instead of cramming their schedule to the brim with the same **** over & over, they wouldn't have burned out. Maybe, they would be more satisfied with their value if they stopped listening to how great of a person they were, and how great their sportsmanship was. Maybe, one day I won't have to unfortunately keep saying "maybe", and those that do ask won't become social pariahs.

Maybe... it'll even be easy. I'm about to dump an open-source and free to use scenario system on top of my free force tracker. It integrates with the land warrior prototype seamlessly. Funny how hard it is to even give **** away for free. Maybe, if customers are daft enough to get their promoter to step it up a notch and provide better service, they'll get the augmented reality games we should have had years ago.
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Old 02-04-2010, 06:45 PM #54
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very good read. Lots of valid points.... so many that i dont know where to begin
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Old 02-04-2010, 07:32 PM #55
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I think there are some really valid points here for both sides. I find the whole "sponsorship" thing silly in the first place. The industry is definitely hurting the brick and mortar dealers by selling products directly for discount prices. But in reality, I doubt they are doing any more damage than internet sales do (although the 2 combined might be dangerous). I know any large purchases, like markers, I do online. It's just way cheaper for me and I don't have a lot of money to spend. Smaller purchases like hoppers and upgrades, are usually done at B&M stores due to the fact that shipping costs would offset any discount I would get from web purchases. Its a shame that it is hard for dealers to make a profit, but that's just the way it is. I think one day the only B&M dealers we will see will be tied to fields, and maybe thats the way it should be.

Also, I think a portion of this uprising against mass sponsorship, comes from the older sponsored teams feeling cheated. They worked hard, and became sponsored, only to see the industry handing out "sponsorship" like candy to everyone a few years later. It sucks that you put in all that work for essentially nothing, but if you were just playing hard to get freebies, than really what do you have to complain about. If you played hard for the love of the game and to become "known" than nothing has changed.

I know I kinda rambled here, but that happens sometimes.
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Old 02-04-2010, 07:50 PM #56
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And furthermore, what's with all the half assed scenario paintball teams putting out press realeases? NO ONE CARES
Ok I laughed at that one.


Gentle men this has been the most enjoyable thread to read that I can remember. Well done to all .

Josh great thread
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Old 02-04-2010, 08:03 PM #57
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But in reality, I doubt they are doing any more damage than internet sales do (although the 2 combined might be dangerous). I know any large purchases, like markers, I do online. It's just way cheaper for me and I don't have a lot of money to spend.
You can already buy direct from the manufacturers online. You have been able to for years. If they want to set specific discounts for teams, you just use a discount code in the billing. It doesn't even require a phone call, and the option exists by default in the vast majority of shopping cart software.

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Smaller purchases like hoppers and upgrades, are usually done at B&M stores due to the fact that shipping costs would offset any discount I would get from web purchases.
That's not true. It entirely depends on your transportation costs. I can order a Halo B right this second online, and have it shipped for $3.99. Gas is $2.40+ per gallon. If I get 25mpg, and the store is 25 miles away, I paid more for round-trip gas than I did for shipping. If you're going to compare costs, you have to compare transport costs completely. Brick & mortar loses again unless you are close by or have very efficient transportation.

The problem is dealers are running an obsolete business model, and not morphing into useful service providers that remain viable to players. They don't make any of the goods they provide, they're just a middle man for product, and it's simple economics and technological progression for them to be cut from the loop when no longer necessary.
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Old 02-04-2010, 08:11 PM #58
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You can already buy direct from the manufacturers online. You have been able to for years. If they want to set specific discounts for teams, you just use a discount code in the billing. It doesn't even require a phone call, and the option exists by default in the vast majority of shopping cart software.



That's not true. It entirely depends on your transportation costs. I can order a Halo B right this second online, and have it shipped for $3.99. Gas is $2.40+ per gallon. If I get 25mpg, and the store is 25 miles away, I paid more for round-trip gas than I did for shipping. If you're going to compare costs, you have to compare transport costs completely. Brick & mortar loses again unless you are close by or have very efficient transportation.

The problem is dealers are running an obsolete business model, and not morphing into useful service providers that remain viable to players. They don't make any of the goods they provide, they're just a middle man for product, and it's simple economics and technological progression for them to be cut from the loop when no longer necessary.
I totally agree, that's why I said we will most likely see B&M stores reduced to pro shops tied to fields. Those will always be necessary. Places to get fills, repairs, or just last minute parts before a game. (how many times have you broke an O-ring right before a game only to discover you had no spares or left them at home)

For me, I don't make a special trip to the local store just to get paintball gear. The store is located near the nearby mall, so I will swing out there to get stuff when I'm going to the movies or something like that. I will only make a special trip if I need something for a game that is only a day away or something and can't get it shipped in time (within reason)
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Old 02-04-2010, 08:13 PM #59
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Several companies have figured out that direct sales are killing dealers. They are offering B&M stores deals to sponsor a certain amount of players. This is a discount for the player and the dealer. Most of them are bundle deals for several pieces of gear bought in one shot. Then the store is the actual sponsor wich is what needs to happen. How many players don't know what Tippmann or Empire is? They all do, so why "sponsor" a team to wear your name? Let the team wear a local store's name, that helps build their buisness and in turn the industry.

Sponsorships are not always based on your level of play or the tourneys you have won, as stated earlier. Not every car in NASCAR wins every race. It's about what you can do for said sponsor. The exposure you can get them. The paintball field is not the best place to advertise most sponsors anyway. If they are playing paintball they know the major brands already. Getting new players intersted in the sport, in my opinion, is duty of every brand sponsored players.

Being a national traveling team doesn't neccesarily mean you get more exposure. You can't possibly play every field in the country every weekend. It actually benefits the industry more to sell local teams products at a discount rather than giving a "national" team free gear no matter how good they are. It's about market exposure. Now not every team in a particular area deserves a sponsorship, for sure, I agree. But having a few extra free "salespeople" at the local field every weekend is not a bad thing.

Don't think I disagree with the thought of player sponsorship being too easy to get. I see kids every day boasting about one sponsorship or another. How good could a 12 year old kid be to get free gear? Makes me sick, but it's the way of the world for sure. I have worked my *** off to aquire the sponsors we carry. We support them all on and off the field. Just my 2cents
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Old 02-04-2010, 08:24 PM #60
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That's not true. It entirely depends on your transportation costs. I can order a Halo B right this second online, and have it shipped for $3.99. Gas is $2.40+ per gallon. If I get 25mpg, and the store is 25 miles away, I paid more for round-trip gas than I did for shipping. If you're going to compare costs, you have to compare transport costs completely. Brick & mortar loses again unless you are close by or have very efficient transportation.

The problem is dealers are running an obsolete business model, and not morphing into useful service providers that remain viable to players. They don't make any of the goods they provide, they're just a middle man for product, and it's simple economics and technological progression for them to be cut from the loop when no longer necessary.
I love people that buy products online and bring them into my shop. How is 15.00 a half hour technological progression for ya? Make sure you factor in future repair costs. I guarantee all the stuff I sell in my shop for the life of the original owner. Try getting tech service from the majority of internet dealers, lol. Most people that bring stuff to me have already tried to return broken product and been denied. I get shippments from UPS and FEDEX ever day and see broken stuff all the time. They don't care about your fancy new expensive marker!

You can send your stuff back to the manufacturer and wait for it to get shipped back if you don't feel like using it for a while. Most of the products you think you buy direct come from local dealers. Another way the industry is helping B&M combat the internet. Most people are getting fed up online and are moving back to the pro shops.

Not to mention that this doesn't belong in this Thread. I just wanted to say my peace before it got too far off topic...Back to sponsorship debate
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Old 02-04-2010, 08:40 PM #61
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RMA has always been a rapid and pain-free process for me with anybody I've done business with. Considering scenarios are weeks apart, even with delays it wouldn't be a problem, not with any competent manufacturer. It would have more impact on tournament players. Repair service is a good thing to provide, that's part of stepping it up... but I've also seen plenty of shops where the gun sits on the wall for a few weeks then eventually gets touched, and others that offered no repairs at all. Good service will always survive.

and I think it's a valid part of the conversation. Sponsorships are tied into all of these businesses, so a shop owners perspective is a good thing to see.
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:23 PM #62
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I also agree but with the additional question, what proves excellence? In tournament paintball it is easy to rank teams with regard to their abilities. In scenario paintball it is not that easy. Multiple teams compete along with walk-ons to form a side. The fields adjust side levels and missions to “keep it even”. Regardless of how hard a team plays they could still lose the game regardless of whether or not they are the better team. Thus to me the current form of sponsorship is correct. Since the whole idea is to get their product on the field where it can be seen, what better way than to give the more organized teams discounts so they will run with your equipment. The smaller teams and walk-ons see what your running and just like any other sport, everybody wants to run what you run. This is the benefit for the sponsor.

There are so many teams and so many events it would be a mind boggling undertaking to give major sponsorship to a few teams who could play any number of major scenarios occurring on the same weekends across the country. And with the games “adjustment” possibilities there would be no way to assure that even if you sponsored the best team and they dominated all day, that they would emerge the victor in a 1500 to 2000 man 2 day game.

As to the lesser teams not deserving sponsorship you need only look at NASCAR to see that without sponsorship even the last place team couldn’t afford to compete without some level of sponsorship. The level of current scenario sponsorship while given out in major overkill style is just a cheap form of advertising. Now if these companies were footing the whole bill for a teams gear and travel without the team earning this effort your thoughts of undeserved sponsorship would be more valid.

Until we can figure out a means of internal scoring and ranking I am afraid the only real recognition we can achieve in our sport is simple word of mouth and forums such as this.
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:56 PM #63
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