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Damian Ryan Vs Valken

Discussion in 'Speak your Brains' started by Richiemonk, Jan 30, 2019.

  1. Richiemonk Well-Known Member

    Richiemonk
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    Everyone has probably seen the absolute **** storm that has gone off with regards to Damian's post on Facebook about certain major companies in the balling world, and how Gino of Valken, very professionally Fired him with a 10 word comment on his post.

    My feelings on this are very strongly sided with Damian,

    Just wondering what everyone's 10 pence worth is?

    But for those who haven't read his post, this is what got him fired...

    ---------------------------------
    "Let’s make a few things clear before we go down this next talking point.

    1. I do not have any desire, care or need to see NXL’s “books”. They are a business and I fully respect their drive to make as much profit as possible. I hope they make millions.
    2. These are completely MY personal views, opinions and thoughts.
    3. This is intended to be a controversial topic, but that does not mean we have to turn it into a **** show. Hopefully both sides of the coin can have real conversation and start looking towards the future. THAT being said I’m fully aware it could go a different direction.
    3.1 Come proper. If you come into this conversation throwing fire around be fully prepared for the flame thrower to come right back at you. I think we all “think” we’re fully loaded but I am fully prepared to fight fire with fire and see where it ends up but again I hope we don’t have to  . ( Nick Slowiak, please note my ****s given meter is actually negative right now so if we choose to go down that slippery path I’ve got my ice skates on and you being the great ambassador you are, you represent a lot more than just myself and my little opinions <3.)
    4. Please keep other stats, big buzz words and any bull**** that doesn’t actually have some weight to it to yourself. Not needed here.

    Last weeks post took an unexpected turn, but it seems to me the people are ready to have real **** talked about so here we go.

    NXL has made their stance and point proven that they are not here to grow paintball. That I fully respect, it’s their business and their choice. Not the path I would have personally taken but again to each his own. The NXL is here to provide us (the players) a platform to play at the highest level. THIS*** is my issue, if your ONLY job is to provide a “professional league” a “high level platform” you’ve done a sub par job. Yes you provide us a location…. And then?

    What comes after and then? Look at ANY OTHER sport in the world. IF ANY sport had a “pro” division play on the types of terrain, or surface, or had a “scoreboard” malfunction EVERY event. Had the webcast go down and delay just about EVERY event. Anyone ever walked through the divisional fields? I’ve seen scoreboards that have been broken for years it seems like. The list could go on and on, but I’m sure someone will hit each of those specifics for me. In my opinion you are failing at providing a high quality platform or even a decent one at that.

    Bringing us to the main point of this conversation. IF you are going to choose not to “Grow Paintball”, I would recommend not building a business model that is dependent on the “newer” teams and lower divisional teams. Let’s look at the IMPORTANT statistics.

    This is a comparison between Vegas 2018, and paid teams as of today 2019. ( YES this may change due to teams still singing up late, but I’m sure Chris Raehl can rattle of some % of teams that sign up after the first entry deadline but won’t because it’s counter productive to their agenda.

    Team Count

    2018 2019 (as of today)
    D2X- 31 20
    D3X- 36 15
    D4X- 17 13

    D3-5 Man-15 5
    D4-5 Man-16 12
    D5-5 Man- 9 4

    Hopefully you can do the math yourself, but regardless of “highest team count in years” the facts don’t lie. This should be a beyond alarming trend to someone who’s become reliant on these teams for the business to in lesser words to , “barely break even after paying salaries”.

    I’m not sure where this is going to lead the rowdy group who’ has pitch forks and torches ready, but hopefully it can create some sort of dialogue and change the status quo because I fear if things keep being ignored it’s only going to get worse.

    My advice for now would to be
    1. Start listening to your customer base a bit more. (no I am not referring to myself. ;).
    2. Try re-investing a small % back into your business ;)

    Just so we have some sort of direction….

    What do YOU think are some contributing factors to the steady decline of the lower divisional teams at NXL events? Sound off below. #plums"
     
  2. Spikerz Well-Known Member

    Spikerz
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    I applaud him for starting a conversation. He's also been really stand up and respectful with his responses to the community and to the Valken folks. Gino pulled a dick move, which is pretty inline with Gino. It was legal, but a dick move.
    I think the points about the divisional fields being horrible, with broken gear/scoreboards/buzzers/tv's in the pits, at every single event. Refs in the US being trained up the day before and shoved out onto the fields. It was fobbed of by saying, oh we're new, we'll get better, trust us!

    I think all of us here, see how well CPPS is run. I played 4 events of CPS last year as well. CPPS and CPS, did not have the equipment issues that plague the NXL, who have a much, larger budget. If you're dropping 1500-3500 in entry per event, with all the other costs, and the fields had huge rocks, holes, **** refs who've never reffed before, and scoreboards/buzzers that didn't work? Why would I play NXL again?

    Could Damian have gone about it in a better way? Oh hell yea, but he got peoples emotions up, and got the conversation kicked off.

    Tom said he screwed up the NPPL/PSP thing. With ICC, the massive resurgence in woods/hyperball/mounds play, the 5.5bps throwback, not to mention the absolutely brilliant gmek and emek, bringing a whole new generation to the game, and an older generation BACK to the game, the competition is there. That's really exciting.

    I'll be at all of the NXL events year at the helm of Droogs Ultrabrutale, so I'm really interested to see what happens.

    I have no issues finding Tom and chatting with him if there's something gone wrong. I will also tell him when things are going well. The more constructive feedback the NXL gets, and reacts to, the better the experience for the players.

    It would be cool if the NXL had INED's, Independent non-executive directors. People that sit on the board that are non-biased because they don't work for the company and are there to keep them honest to the client/customer.
    Maybe a players union? If 80% of the players went on strike and didn't show up to an event, what would that do?
     
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  3. Prestige Worldwide Boats 'n' Hoes

    Prestige Worldwide
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    I could be wrong about it, but I heard that Gino's "official" line for the firing was that Damian posted on FB during working hours. In some firms, that's a disciplinary or even a sackable offence. If it was a post in connection with "work", that may have worked out differently, but it was a personal post. Of course, there may have been other factors involved that we don't know about.

    Good luck with getting players to join a Union. The majority wouldn't even join the UKPSF. There's a whole lot of hate on FB at the moment about 5.5bps ("Classic" paintball) versus 10.5bps (tournament paintball).

    If players are dumb enough to get the knives out over such a pointless argument then you have no hope in uniting them in a single goal. If you want to play 5.5, fine. If you want to play 10.5, that's fine too. It's all paintball, and it's good to have a choice.

    The declining factor in team numbers? Money. Nobody has got has much these days, and increasing entry fees mean fewer teams attending. And there is always the suspicion that someone higher up the tournament chain is making a whole lot of fat cash. The road to being a "Pro" isn't glamorous, and costs you a lot of money and time. Which is why you have long-time players like Scott Kemp & Grayson Goff giving up "Pro" paintball to work regular jobs with a paycheck, as there is only a finite number of jobs within the paintball industry.

    That's what is driving the move to "Classic" paintball. Disillusioned players, slower guns, lower entry fees, less money spent on paint, more field time, better value for money, and a more even playing field for old guys versus 20 year old's. And of course, the nostalgic feel of playing paintball in the woods again, where we all began.

    Don't forget that there is a whole bunch of players out there that don't like Supair and fast guns, so to a tournament organiser that's a market just waiting to be tapped.

    Organising a national league can't be easy. Some people will always focus on the negatives of an event rather than the positives, and complain endlessly about them. Especially if they didn't place well at the event. But the league doesn't help themselves when they choose a location with rocks on the fields to host an event.

    That's just my completely amateur opinion. I'm not in the industry loop, and most people on here aren't either.

    You'd get a more informed view on the Valken thing by speaking with Markie C and The Firm, as they were good friends with Damian.

    As to how we can #growpaintball......be a good sportsman. Play & ref as much as you can. Support your local fields and stores by not expecting a discount from them. Give your old stuff to young players who are just starting out and don't have much money. Promote paintball in a positive way. Businesses need to make money to survive, but a person is defined by their actions. You may be reading this now, but in a few years you could be the next Oliver Lang. It's up to you.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
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  4. Spikerz Well-Known Member

    Spikerz
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    Agreed about the union, it would take a lot. The players split from the organizers before though, so it might happen. It seems like a cycle though, we try something for a few years, get angry at the people trying running things, split off...and the same basic people make a new league...or new people make a league and the same manufacturers still get involved throw money around and end up running the new league anyway.

    I spent 20 minutes in Chantilly explaining to Tom Cole why limited paint was needed in Europe, and how people don't make the same money as people in the states, the population differences of people with disposable income etc. He actually said he hadn't thought of the buying power and economics of Europe. So that's why they went limited paint after debating things.

    I haven't seen the conditions at the NXL (US) events in decades. Last US event I was at was 2004 Tampa NPPL, which was awesome. Each team got a tent, with table and chairs, (you split time with another team depending who played morning/afternoon), free water and free bananas. It was great.

    I was fine with the Mills events, other than the parking lot being a nightmare in Puget, and some of the locations of events being less than ideal, the event itself seemed fine.

    We're definitely closing in on a generational shift in paintball. I was part of the late 90's early 00's mass ramp up in tournament paintball. Lots of disposable income, early 20's wanting to travel and party, etc.
    Now? Hitting 41 this year, with a family. So the draw to the woods, less stress, still seeing old friends, sounds pretty amazing. Look at most of the pro players, Dynasty, half of them are a year or two from 40. Damage is in the same boat, and you've seen some guys like Grayson and Kemp, and Brandon Short, and Markowski already step away.

    So if there's no pipeline of younger players to keep the money train a moving, and move people into pro, tournament paintball is going to take a massive hit. There are some teams looking good in Semi-Pro, but most of the top 5 folded last year, or moved up to Pro and did...eh? Ok-ish.

    I don't know the answer to growing paintball, but the 5.5 classic thing looks like it's gathering steam. It's lowering the cost of entry into the sport, offering up a version where let's face it, you can be slightly chubby and slow and still do really well. I think it's going to help keep paintball afloat while the next big thing is figured out or the next wave of players come in.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
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  5. Prestige Worldwide Boats 'n' Hoes

    Prestige Worldwide
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    Good post, @Spikerz.

    I've always liked limited paint - I learned to play at the WDP limited paint tournaments at Kooh Doow. People brought up on ramping think the only way to play is to shoot 7 pods a game, but paint isn't cheap.

    I was gutted for Aftermath after they won their Pro NXL spot, then Mike Hinman left. All that work for nothing. It was like TBD a few years back, and like TBD, Aftermath are going to continue. I'm looking forward to seeing them play Vegas.

    There is no easy answer to growing paintball. All we can do is "do our bit" as individuals, as the big industry-changing decisions are out of the average player's hands. We just need to keep on going as long as we can.
     
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  6. James ECI UK Woodland Masters

    James ECI
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    I don't agree - think you can do better - then do better.

    I took a LOT of flack for site paint only earlier in the season - where are we now? Ah yes, a company that properly supports our events and does things properly.

    There were other companies who didn't want to contribute in the same manner but had every chance to.

    I therefore said it wont work with us. I'm not even sorry, if you want a slice of the pie - then put an equal share of the ingredients in!!!!

    I had my #growwoodsball mocked but I stand strong that for me to do the work I do - it needs to work for everyone.

    So by supporting the event - you don't get undercut from car park sales!

    I'm kind of tired of the whole 5.5 thing - as in reality its only 5.5 for electros which gives mech an advantage in ROF. .

    Every player deserves some sort of choice, to play something which resembles what they see paintball as and not to have something else forced down their throat

    I've wasted too much time giving the debate my attention.

    For the past 5 years (UKWM is now in its 6th season!) we have done what we think is right for paintball:

    Paying the Refs properly
    Paying for media coverage - rather than charging the player base 4 quid per photo or something stupid
    Telling the stories of what is happening within the league
    Working on the site we use to make it better for players
    Working with series sponsors in a way that is equal rather than take, take, take

    Support your local fields and stores - Players 100% need to do this! Certain stores/companies have a race to the bottom view on pricing and its complete Bullsh!t - YOU HAVE POISONED THE WELL
    expecting a discount - It needs to stop - If i want to play paintball i accept there is a cost
    Give your old stuff to young players - Turks do this unreservedly - Cass and others have given quality kit away in the time ive know them - Hats off to this team
    Promote paintball in a positive way - Sadly the most recent debates arent doing this. PBM and SL media are doing podcasts / magazines / photos / videos - need more of this
    Businesses need to make money to survive - This is true - I dont do this full time, but if this was - id need to make money. Equally - to keep players interested - i need to work hard
    a person is defined by their actions -
    And I hope that we are, 3-5am rises / late nights after the regular 9-5 - people dont always see it but whose who know, know
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  7. Prestige Worldwide Boats 'n' Hoes

    Prestige Worldwide
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    Good post, @James ECI.

    What I meant by "industry-changing decisions being out of the average player's hands" is that the average player does not have a seat at the table when, for example, the NXL management and industry leaders meet at World Cup each year to decide what direction the NXL - and therefore all of the feeder leagues - should go.

    The NXL is not the be-all and end-all for paintball, because as you know Supair tournament players are only a small fraction of the paintball playing public. Yet the people who play tournaments are chasing a dream to be the best.

    You've changed the industry with the direction you've gone in. I've been to your events and I know how good they are. I'd attend more, but I'm up in the North and I'm very lazy.

    I would not define you as "the average player". You've been around awhile, played at a high level, had a vision for what you want to do, and stayed true to it despite the obstacles in your way.

    I would define "the average player" as someone who has played as a rental, bought his own gear, does walkons and couldn't care less about tournaments. But your definition may be different.

    I've been in paintball a while, and in that time I've been given opportunities that I've wasted, and advice that I've ignored. If I'd listened and applied myself rather than being lazy, I might have been "somebody". I've made bad choices, and can only blame myself.

    That said, I've been lucky enough to live through the "golden age" of paintball. I've played and worked at events in the UK, the USA, Europe and the Far East. I've met a lot of good people and am richer for those experiences. The same people keep being good to me, despite my faults. I've gone from playing for the first time as a rental at an indoor site to going to the biggest tournaments in the World many times over. I may even get a few more trips in before I get killed in a tragic accident involving a combine harvester.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  8. Tom Tom

    Tom
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    Yes, the NXL isn’t the be all and end all of paintball.
    But it’s the international level that those in the tournament scene aspire to play, plus the NXL calendar is crucial to many others. Obviously for CPPS, but also going all the way along to woods/MagFed/scenario events and will be of interest to keep an eye on for walkons

    Some on here will be aware of the Scenario Games Co-operative, which has teams from the good old days of Scenario a decade ago bringing back some games, with Martello of PBM magazine co-ordinating us.
    Picking dates just to fit in a one day ‘simple’ scenario took a lot of co-ordination.
    Tournaments were far from my interest, but going to CPPS and Bricket Wood to support paintball fwends and the tournament teams of Scenario teammates opened up another interest. I wouldn’t aspire to play NXL, but did attend a couple of Milleniums and became a tournament photographer
    As Martelo is PBM, he is committed to cover events, so needs to co-ordinate every date possible, on my photography I want to cover CPPS - but with the juggling of the dates that were not initially confirmed along with other commitments in life I cannot make it to all of the rounds, which means I can’t make commitments to teams to give them coverage. It also looks like

    I may only be able to make some of the side dates rather than the main rounds - I also have a bit of a health issue going on which might make things difficult (Nothing major, I may need to avoid being shot as much). I’m disappointed to say I may end up unable to attend any tournaments in 2019, but it’s also a milestone year in paintball for me. So I’m concentrating on commiting to playing - both supporting other SGC events as part of our team commitment, but also to make up for not having shot anyone for 2 or more years.
    I digress, but the point is probably that NXL plays a role in affecting most of the paintball calendar even for players with zero tournament interest


    The ‘average’ player is a hard one
    Tournament players are a small element of the UK player base
    Scenario players ditto
    MagFed players ditto
    Walkon players - I think that is where people have gone, being choosy about how they spend their disposable income and time
    Big game players - are probably a bit of all of the above

    The majority of players I feel are the punters. They play once or on special occasions, I did have UKPSF statistics quite a few years ago, and they reflected this

    If we had statistics of players and their types of play, then i hazard a guess that in a statistical sense the mean, mode and median players will be punters.
    The individual players that play the most, I guess to be own gunners at either walkons or going back to their punter site until someone helpful points them to walkons and events (exactly the case for me 15 years ago) and perhaps a balance tipping to the CPPS level tournament player
     
  9. Prestige Worldwide Boats 'n' Hoes

    Prestige Worldwide
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    But declining team numbers - such as those posted by Damian - suggest that less and less team are aspiring to International level play. You need deep pockets, skill and patience to climb your way up the divisions and stay at the top once you've got there. Just look at the decline in UK team numbers in the MS and Euro NXL.

    Tournament players also have a high burnout rate in the UK at least. How many UK teams play Pro in the Euro NXL, and the MS before that? One.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  10. Spikerz Well-Known Member

    Spikerz
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    I think the single biggest 'force multiplier' as far as cost, ease of maintenance, ability to get new players involved, is the emek and pals loader. 0 electronics but can shoot 8bps?! That's insane!

    I remember playing the Pan Am series put on by Dan Bonebrake. It was basically hopper ball, M200. No matter what gun you used you had to be good. I'd love to see local series somehow creates the point basis for who goes to major events. For instance, local leagues and the winner goes to world cup, or gets points towards the regional series. I THINK DPL runs like this in Germany.

    I know Tom tells us the number of unique players is only going up, which is awesome. That's going to be a bubble at some point.

    What do people enjoy? Going out with friends to play without a ton of stress and massive cost. (to me at least), how do we support that? 5.5, classic series, giving the many types of paintball the same seat at the table as the NXL. Imagine a mixed World Cup. 2 games sup air, 2 games hyperball/mounds, 2 games woods (pre lims) or 1/1/1/1. That'll bring out the skills in a team. Hell I'd fly wherever, to play that sort of event.
     

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