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Old 12-14-2014, 01:51 PM #1
derder Joe
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Bring Our Sport Back. You Must Read This!

THE MOST IMPORTANT PAINTBALL POST YOU'LL READ THIS YEAR!

The face of pro paintball changed this season. Yet with constant changes every season, as a whole we are still in a decline. But its not format changes that will bring us to mainstream recognition. The sport needs alot more then that. I've often discussed this with my good friends who experienced the glory days of paintball. Yesterday, my good friend, and long time Paintball Pioneer, Buddy Baur sent me a message with an idea. The single, most comprehensive message I've ever recieved about the future of paintball. Here's a very logical, big picture view of what needs to happen.

As not only a Nationally competitve psp player, but one of those people who literally eats, sleeps, and breathes this sport as a lifestyle, I am passionate enough about this idea to not only support it, but share it with you all. If we ever want to see the growth increase, create balanced lives for our pro players, and make something more then an underground sport, CHANGE INEVITABLY NEEDS TO HAPPEN. And its not going to come from changing the rules in the highest levels of the game. Those behind the paintball industry as a whole need to realize the way we are doing things is not working. No matter what rules and format changes happen, the die hards will still play the sport. But these rules are not bringing the new players in. Big picture reform across the whole sport is needed.



"Paintball is most definitely made some changes over the years that I have played it, but after reading some things as of late, I feel there are many contributing factors for the sport being down. I also have some insight as to what would help bring the sport back to where it was at its prime and possibly surpass. Anyone that plays this game has aspirations of playing at the top level. The type of person that our sport attracts is not the type of person that is willing to accept this sport as just a hobby. This sport attracts those that want more. It’s addictive. I think the first thing to help our sport excel and to get more players involved is to find out what our sport lacks. What are some of the major hurdles that get in the way of our sports growth, player participation and player advancement?

I can name a few just off hand and I will then go into detail with those topics later in this read. Cost is obviously a hurdle. Real Life is a major hurdle for most players. Reward is a hurdle for many. Keeping the interested player involved for an extended period of time has become a hurdle as well. Field owners struggling and not making enough money to provide quality facilities, keeping inventory in stock, and portraying a professional image of the sport to those first getting into it (including their parents / families)

The industry is to blame for this as much as anyone or anything else.
What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. This was my 20th year playing this game. I can remember my older brother playing on Shockwave Canada and Lockout years ago and it was the same thing back then. He would fly out to Dallas, LA, or Florida etc for a paintball tournament about 5 times a year.

Keep reading and I will tell you the way to get our sport back.

This industry has done the same thing over and over for years and yet the struggle continues. Sure, there have been major advancements in the process and new features that have made the sport fair, structured, and organized. But these changes have been incorporated into a system that is flawed. Those same innovative advancements could still be valuable, but more so in a system that allows for the advancement of the sport. ID cards, Scanners, Refs and Training, Webcast, etc.

I wish that Matty Marshall, Chris Lasoya, or Todd Martinez reads this and can provide some insight on how many viewers the PSP webcast gets each event. I for one do not know the exact number of viewers that sign in for each of the 5 U.S. events each year, but the point I am going to make makes that number redundant.

Any PSP tournament player will agree that it is very tough to balance REAL LIFE with PAINTBALL LIFE. How many weddings, funerals, birthdays, etc have you missed to be at a paintball event? Probably a lot. How many times have you tried to explain to your aunt, uncle, grandparents what it is you actually do? (and they still don’t get it) Probably a lot. How many guys think that the guy that brings his wife / gf is distracted and doesn’t participate in team activities at events etc? Probably a lot. How many times has it been a struggle to get out of work or school for a tournament? Probably a lot.
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Old 12-14-2014, 01:52 PM #2
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Why is our sport not gaining ground? Why do we not attract new players? Well, how many field owners do you know that are flooding radio, tv, and the web with advertising? Yeah lol, like none. When you make $50 on a $1200 marker, that $50 is going to pay bills, not to advertising. I can tell you that I have not once ever been watching regular TV and had a paintball commercial come on. So I ask again, what are we doing to attract new players? Hope that someone stumbles on the local fields’ facebook page? Hope that the local businesses decide to do their Christmas party at the local field this year? This is laughable. Let’s face it, our sport is RELIANT on word-of-mouth advertising. That is one thing that has not changed since I have played and will not change until the industry steps up and makes a change that will not only help grow our sport, but allow field owners to make more profit, which will then allow for REAL advertising and so on…..
The answer is this. Right now the PSP is THE league. No doubt about it. The PSP does 5 events per year, just like they always have done. The entry fees are high and the prizes are minimal. The way to ensure our sport has a future and turns itself around is to change this format. Allow MORE people to play. Allow more people to have lives outside of the sport. Allow players friends, families and fans to attend events to better understand the game. This will then encourage more people to get involved in our sport. The TOP level of our sport seems so un-obtainable.

Imagine if you had 4 qualifying events between March 1st and September 30th each year. Those 4 events were close enough (9 Conferences) that you could attend even if you were a full time student or full time employee. These events were close enough to have your friends and families attend, watch, and support. Keep all of the same divisions…Pro, D1, D2, D3. 6 Pro teams per conference 10 Division 1 teams per conference, 10 division 2 teams per conference, 10 division 3 teams per conference. (36 total teams per conference.) Doesn’t seem like much right? But in reality it would be almost double what the PSP is seeing now…. Take the top 2 Pro teams from each conference and the top 5 teams in each other division from the conference to WORLD CUP. That makes WORLD CUP have 153 teams but makes it more of a reason for a televised event.

That is like having 324 Teams at EACH of the 5 PSP events. In case you are curious…

PSP DALLAS – 120 Teams Total in 2014
PSP MAO – 197 Teams Total in 2014
PSP CHICAGO – 180 Teams Total in 2014
PSP WEST COAST – 110 Teams Total in 2014
PSP WORLD CUP – 369 Teams Total in 2014

It may seem like a lot of work…and it is….but the CXBL does it and it has one of the best reputations for a league I have ever seen. The AXBL (Northeast League) did it as well and Paintball was flourishing. The PSP would need their main “crew” to travel and be the face of each event, but the gear, set up, and infrastructure could be sectioned off into 9 areas. The PSP would need to visit fields in each conference radius and determine the fields best fit for hosting (they already do) and pick 4 different fields within each conference and modify tell the field owner what they need to add / change to be a qualifying field. (CXBL does this and the facilities couldn’t be nicer)

It wasn’t by accident and the decision wasn’t made by idiots to have the AFC North Division in the NFL be made of the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, and Pittsburgh Steelers. It wasn’t an accident to have the NFC South Division in the NFL to be made of the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Carolina Panthers.
There are certainly going to be a lot of logistical questions and things that need to be adjusted but what will this solve?

Players will now be able to afford to play paintball again. It doesn’t take a flight and a rental car to get to an event. It doesn’t take asking the boss/teacher for Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, and Sun off of work (possibly Monday with a red-eye) 5 times per year. It allows ALL of the people that are logging into the webcast to play in the PSP instead of watching and dreaming of it from home. That is allowing friends and family members to come and watch without having to fly around the US. That is allowing those that do not want to stop playing when having a family to reasonably continue to do so. That is allowing field owners to thrive off of an increase in teams / players in their immediate area looking to play, have tryouts, and practice. That is what will get local businesses to sponsor events. Why would a local Boston car dealership, bar, restaurant or construction company want to sponsor an event or team that plays in Florida, Dallas, California, or Illinois? That’s right, they wouldn’t. But they would more likely sponsor a team that plays regionally. There is money for these business owners out there. There is money for these teams out there. There is money for our sport out there and the supported format that we have had for years puts a choke hold on all of it. Most importantly, this is what will allow more and more people to be exposed to our sport and show some promise of it being obtainable along with real life.

If you want to play PSP level paintball, it is most of the time a trade-off. Pick either work or paintball, pick either school or paintball, pick either girlfriend or paintball, or pick either a family or paintball. Pick either a family vacation or save my vacation time for paintball. The ones that are lucky enough to do both….more power to you, but you are the smaller portion of players and the numbers prove it. Paintball at the competitive level should be realistic. Especially when Professional players (for the most part) cannot live on their salaries….if they even have one.

At the end of the day, the ones capable of making this happen have the most to gain from doing so. Paint vendors will sell more paint. The gear vendors will sell more gear. The field owners will turn more profit. The players will spend less in travel etc. The webcast will have more people watching than ever because conferences will want to watch other conferences. Turn 5 events worth of access fees into 36 events worth of access fees. 
Now is not the time to look at this and say “damn, that would be a bunch of work” and keep doing what you are doing. Someone in the industry (higher up) should step up and push for this to happen."
-Buddy Baur


I can only hope that this gets read, shared, and seen by the eyes of the right people! Please talk, discuss, spread
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Old 12-14-2014, 03:31 PM #3
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Awesome write up and I shared it on my page.
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Old 12-14-2014, 04:00 PM #4
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Great read
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Old 12-14-2014, 04:15 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derder Joe View Post
It doesn’t take a flight and a rental car to get to an event. It doesn’t take asking the boss/teacher for Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, and Sun off of work (possibly Monday with a red-eye) 5 times per year.
This is one of the toughest parts. Flight = $300-600. Hotel adds another $100 ish if you have 4 to a room with two double beds, more if your not snuggling up with your team mates. Rental car depending on where the event is at can be $300-600 for the week, and a lot of the XBALL format teams need more than one rental van / car. I want to say that travel cost alone to events is $600-1000, with $600 being a cheap event (for the travel).

The paintball portion of it, the entry fee & paintballs are usually cheaper than the travel in my experience. Unfortunately it takes the travel to make it all happen.

Great read and thanks for sharing.
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Old 12-14-2014, 04:21 PM #6
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solid post. I've always thought the idea of making lower division players fly all over the country to play events was ridiculous. Conferences would be awesome
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Old 12-14-2014, 04:31 PM #7
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Excellent Write up. That sounds awesome, Im ready for it to happen!

Shared on my page.
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Old 12-14-2014, 05:04 PM #8
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Delusional :-) Was it the EggNog ? Oh by the way, they tried something similar to this about 8 or 10 years ago. It failed :-(

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Old 12-14-2014, 05:07 PM #9
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Great write up, well-written and extremely logical. I wish I was in a position to make a difference.
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Old 12-14-2014, 05:20 PM #10
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All I hear is whining, no solution.
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Old 12-14-2014, 05:22 PM #11
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This is one of the most comprehensive posts I've read in a while. If paintball wants to be recognized like other national sports then it needs to have the structure of other sports. Just like mentioned above.
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Old 12-14-2014, 05:32 PM #12
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Old 12-14-2014, 05:48 PM #13
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Maybe i missed something here, but is your point, in a nutshell, that we should split the PSP's events into different conferences based on location? Why? All you end up doing is playing in a regional series with PSP's name on it.. Why not play EPL, CFOA, NEPL, WCCPL, etc. and just work on that?

edit to elaborate:
There are no series prizes for PSP. last i checked at least. So why does it matter if you can or can't play every event? For most east coast teams, we get MAO and Cup which are doable and many teams commit to a regional series and play MAO and/or cup because you can do it without losing your wallet in the process. im sure many WCCPL teams do the same. what actual difference would it make if i play in the PSP East division instead of EPL when im going to play the same teams?

i think people are over reacting to a decline in an expensive, luxury sport in an economy that is hard on many people.
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Old 12-14-2014, 05:56 PM #14
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All I hear is whining, no solution.
Did you even read? He listed the solution in like 2/3 of his write up.
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Old 12-14-2014, 05:58 PM #15
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The Eastern Paintball League developed this model in 2009. The League is divided into 3 Conferences. All 3 Conferences come together at the end of the year to compete in our Championship event "East Coast Cup". The winner of our championship event has won entry to PSP World Cup since 2009.

EPL South Conference (NC, SC, VA)
EPL Mid-Atlantic Conference (VA, MD, WV, DE)
EPL North Conference (NJ, NY, PA)

The league and it's staff ends up traveling, booking hotels, buying diesel and managing logistics. It costs more to do so, but it saves the players money and increases regional participation.
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Old 12-14-2014, 06:19 PM #16
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Quote:
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Maybe i missed something here, but is your point, in a nutshell, that we should split the PSP's events into different conferences based on location? Why? All you end up doing is playing in a regional series with PSP's name on it.. Why not play EPL, CFOA, NEPL, WCCPL, etc. and just work on that?

edit to elaborate:
There are no series prizes for PSP. last i checked at least. So why does it matter if you can or can't play every event? For most east coast teams, we get MAO and Cup which are doable and many teams commit to a regional series and play MAO and/or cup because you can do it without losing your wallet in the process. im sure many WCCPL teams do the same. what actual difference would it make if i play in the PSP East division instead of EPL when im going to play the same teams?

i think people are over reacting to a decline in an expensive, luxury sport in an economy that is hard on many people.
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Old 12-14-2014, 06:54 PM #17
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How does the average player help make the change though?
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Old 12-14-2014, 07:24 PM #18
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How does the average player help make the change though?
Most obviously by protest

i.e.; not playing in the PSP, supporting local fields and regional tournament series.
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Old 12-14-2014, 07:24 PM #19
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By starting at the base level. Which are the fields. Inviting friends out, helping younger players, helping newer players, generally being a good ambassador to the sport. Lots of fields are struggling right now because the margins are so tight, and people are doing other things than playing paintball. Business week just released this article. Check it out

http://mobile.businessweek.com/artic...extreme-sports
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Old 12-14-2014, 07:30 PM #20
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The change is just not going to happen overnight. It will take years, 4 to 6 years for the thing to turn around if we started aggressively changing right now. Most people just think that it's instantly going to happen and it's not going to.
It's going to take lots of hard work and risks.
People have to start trusting the process
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Old 12-14-2014, 08:01 PM #21
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I think this is a awesome idea.
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