The looming question from an outsider…can a Professional Paintball League survive with no one paying the bills? With no viewers, save a few clamoring wannabe elite players, and dwindling sponsor money, how long can we have “professional players, teams, and leagues?
Professional players, by definition, need to be paid. The amount they get paid may be debatable and maybe it’s just enough to break even after their expenses. But a league that requires their professional players to pay their own way, is not really a professional league. It’s a league made up of the best players that can afford to play, not the best players money can buy as is the case in most other “professional” sports.
What we call Professional Paintball is the top tier in competitive paintball, no argument. Any popular sport will have varying levels of competitiveness. Any popular sport has kids aspiring for greatness. The level of luxury attached to achieving the top spots, has much to do with the number of kids and the strength of those aspirations. If the sport is fun to play, that will bolster the number of people who want to take part. Paintball is fun to play. It’s got that going for it and all of us involved in the sport know this. But there is a big difference in a sport that is fun to play and one that is popular enough to attract big money in the form of paying viewers and/or revenue from manufacturers selling high volumes to fans and throngs of aspiring athletes. Paintball does not have that going for it and I doubt that it ever will.
Those involved with high-level paintball can wish all they want that the tide will turn and money will start flowing into their coffers. But unless a format can be found that people will actually want to watch, or will allow the masses to take part because it is fun AND affordable, wishing it to be so will be as far as it goes. That’s my take.