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The Saviours of UK Paintball ?????

Discussion in 'Paintball News' started by Robbo, May 2, 2017.

  1. Robbo Owner of this website for my sins ....

    Robbo
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    Whilst Ainsley attracts all the plaudits, and rightly so, our sport teeters precariously ......
    Never before has our sport faced such dire consequence as those we do now.
    I'll document these concerns in an article I'm writing up now and although some people may suggest I'm indulging myself, I'm not, I wish I were because it would mean the situation isn't as bad as it's made out to be ......


    On the surface, UK paintball looks to be doing ok but the success of the CPPS is papering over the cracks in our sport.
    Something fundamental has changed in the UK/Europe/US paintball markets ... it may not seem so to a lot of people but that's because they're too close to the problem itself ...... we're all well aware of market forces driving down participation in all sports especially those that are expensive to play.
    However, it doesn't stop there because paintball is a special case, it not only costs money to play but it costs a lot of money.....

    The main difference concerning this threat to our sport as against previous threats is that we're being hit from two directions:-

    a) From the outside by the world economy driving down player participation, and

    b) From the inside due to our complete inability to work together and come up with some form of cogent recovery plan ..... we're dead in the water if we fail to resolve these issues.

    Making matters worse is our industry's present structure - what I mean by this is:- Richmond Italia of Gi Sports has now acquired two of paintball's largest companies, Tippmann and Kee, and with a combined price tag of over 200 million dollars [That's my guestimate, it's not exact] it makes the Gi group the most powerful combine there's ever been in our industry - and on the other hand we have Valken, owned by Gino Postorivo.
    I've known and been friends with both these guys for over 20 years now - I've never had occasion to feel aggrieved by either of them and so I'm in a pretty good position to comment on how they influence matters in the months to come.
    It's true to say I've been closer to Richmond over the years and that's down to circumstances more than anything else.
    It does not mean I'll be anything but impartial in any comments I may make.
    It's no exaggeration to state these two guys pretty much run the show ... now this can work in our sport's favour or against dependant upon how they interact - I'll cover this relationship in my article but for now, all we need to do is acknowledge the landscape as it stands.

    Things are tricky that's for sure but those two guys have the wherewithal and financial clout to steer us away from any imminent danger but that course remains to be disclosed .... we wait and we hope ....

     
  2. Hansel So Hot Right Now.

    Hansel
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    Unless there is a radical change, Pete, I don't think GI have any intention of working with Valken. As you know, GI has recently begun legal action alleging Valken copied the Mini.

    Paintball is no stranger to this type of legal action, though - Smart Parts v WDP, for example. That is what buried a truly great innovator, together with the money pit that was NPPL 1.0.
     
  3. Robbo Owner of this website for my sins ....

    Robbo
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    Yeah, I'm aware of the legal shenanigans going on between the companies and it undoubtedly complicates matters but both those parties know full well what our industry now faces.
    We face an entirely different threat now, and unless I'm wrong [and that's entirely possible] if anything could bring those two parties together then it's the prospect of our sport/industry being marginalised and diminished even further than it is now.

    The tournament scene [retail market] has become an expensive indulgence and it's hard to justify shelling out that much money for playing an event let alone training for it for those players who wish to take their participation up a level.
    In times gone past, there was enough money sloshing around to support a multi-tiered participation for players/teams but that's finished, it will never return.

    It's almost as if we need to start again but there's no turning any clocks back here - we're forced to stay in the present game and throw the dice yet again.
    As for any lawsuits?
    I can lay claim to 100% accuracy when predicting who will win, in fact, I've never been wrong ...... which is why I hate lawyers !
     
  4. Hansel So Hot Right Now.

    Hansel
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    GI will win, I believe.

    Paintball has always been a luxury sport, but it has become cheaper to compete at a National level since the days of the Mayhem European Open. If you want it bad enough, you will find a way to get the money and play. If you don't want it, you quit and sell your gear.

    And as you know, tournament players have always accounted for a very small percentage of "people who play paintball". The Scenario market is huge, which is why companies like Planet and HK/ANS are making inroads into it.
     
  5. Tom Tom

    Tom
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    I'm with @Robbo on the big boys finding a way to work together.

    There are the big corporate politics of take overs etc, and patent legalities etc
    But as business men they know their market, they will compete for their own market share but recognise the needs of the market.


    Back in the olden days there were things such as paintball cars in NASCAR etc. The companies across the market recognised that they were to compete within paintball and look after their own interests, but the greater good of the entire paintball market was recognised above individual interests.
    A portion of a growing and innovative market trumps 100% of a small stagnant market
     
  6. Robbo Owner of this website for my sins ....

    Robbo
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    Woah Tom !!!

    I ain't suggesting Richmond and Gino will soon be holding hands as they skip through the daffodils just yet .... what I will say is this, they have a curious relationship, and I'm pretty sure that buried in that relationship lies a certain degree of respect for each other.

    If they would/could keep their meetings outside of paintball and in a bar somewhere, they'd get on well enough, I know that much.
    In a sense, they remind me of a couple of boxers who've both won world titles and have fought each other many times ..... but something still niggles deep down with those two, and you'd have to be a fool to get in the middle of them and so I will comment no further and hope I ain't pissed off either of them, I'm no fool.

    But Tom, I hope they can work things out because if we ever got them on the same side then I'd be a lot more confident concerning our future.
     
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  7. Tom Tom

    Tom
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    I'd pay to see the former, but I'd be very happy with the latter and what they could pull off working together.
     
  8. Robbo Owner of this website for my sins ....

    Robbo
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    What they have to pull off is something quite simple and fundamental to our sport's/industry's survival, to turn the tide and consolidate our present position and create a new platform from which to remarket our sport.

    I'm not suggesting Gino and Richmond should take responsibility and/or foot the bill for this new initiative but if I had to choose two individuals who could achieve such a recovery, it would be them.
    The responsibility for such an enterprise should of course be shared by all of the industry but I'd be living in cloud-cuckoo land if I expected them all, or even the majority to invest in such a consolidation and subsequent re-launch.
    Far too many companies would just sit on the fence holding onto their wallets and hope the re-launch was successful just so's they could take advantage if it were a success.

    I ain't got no answers in the sense I have a fully-fledged recovery plan but surely our industry possesses the quality of individuals who could come up with one.
    The likes of Richmond and Gino would obviously be in the frame but I could easily name a few others who would qualify for such a consolidation/rescue package, Ledzy, Dave YB, Billy Ceranski, Jackie and John Sosta ... the list goes on.
    Within that group of individuals, I'd bet my house on the fact they could come up with something better than sitting on our collective arses waiting to see what happens.
     
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  9. Lightning Member

    Lightning
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    So as a returning player to the sport after being away from it for probably over 7 years I enjoy doing background research to see how the sport has developed and where it is going. This is such a great read Robbo and from a very honest knowledgable person. The two sides to our sport remind me of how Rugby has both League and Union. Both flourish in there own way and in different parts of the world but exist together and both bring people into the sport.

    Unfortunately I remember a time when some people would give eachother a hard time for being apart of one side or the other rather than supporting each other in helping the sport grow. This probably pushed a market away and into airsoft. However it does seem to be swinging back around with the popularity of scenario increasing and people being more accepting of 'hey we all enjoy paintball in different ways but its still a love for something that inherently is the same, shooting paint at eachother'.

    I was pretty shocked at some of the prices for equipment when as you say its a lump of plastic in some cases. It seems to be that companies know its an expensive sport so keep products expensive as people have come to expect this which is a shame, one good thing is the second hand market is still a pretty decent way for newbies to get great gear for a relatively low cost.

    Its great that events like CPPS are making tournament paintball more affordable and will definitely go a long way to improving the sport. Always humbling to hear about passionate people putting real money into something they love.

    One thing that I have noticed that I didnt really see when I was younger was how boring the tourny scene is for a spectator watching it back on youtube etc. For any sport to really grow and draw people in it needs to be exciting to watch! The sport gives a huge adrenaline rush to play but the spectator does not get that. Other sports all have focal points for a spectator wether it be a ball or battling for 1st place. Paintball really doesnt have that, video coverage is usually wide shots of the field with nothing to draw suspense. So if bigger crowds arnt drawn to watch it then there is only so far it can grow. I would have imagined in this day and age more drone footage combined with body cams and live feeds. Something similar to video games tournaments so you can pool a whole teams camera feeds onto the screen and watch each team from every players perspective. Formula 1 feed onboard cameras from the cars as do WRC.

    The sport seems to have changed. I still remember going into National Paintball Supplies in Colchester and buying my first marker. So I was surprised to hear it has changed hands twice! Im probably waffling now being 00:13.

    Im aware there are fundamental problems that need ironing out. I just hope the sport comes out the other side in a better place.
     
  10. Robbo Owner of this website for my sins ....

    Robbo
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    I have to say, I've always been slightly concerned about our present predicament because it seems to have gone on for such a long time - the article I'm trying to finish at the moment involves what I was told at the recent Millennium near Crawley.
    I spoke to a lot of my friends in the industry who were there, and as a direct result of those conversations, my concerns for our sport have subsequently deepened - so much so, that I genuinely fear for our sport [Tournament paintball].
    I don't think tournament paintball will disappear altogether but I really believe that the Millennium is under real pressure for many reasons.
    And if the Millennium goes pop, it really doesn't bear thinking about.
    As to why I think the Millennium is in such dangerous times?
    I'll try and cover them in the article but suffice it to say, I am definitely NOT exaggerating the situation to spark interest, that's a cheap shot - I'm flagging up what I really believe the precarious situation we now face.
    I'll try and finish it today and post it up here ....
     
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