The Future of Tournament paintball part 2. For Part one click here
Money…. Probably the hardest to do anything about. But once you look a little closer there are a few factors that we can look at.
Th GFC caused a lot of problems for paintball. Not just paintball in America but Europe and Australia as well. Paintball is an easy thing to give up when money is tight. The flip side of this is that when economies are strong the sport grows. With consumer confidence in the USA and Australia growing we should start to see players either returning or starting i the sport.
The recovery has not really started to come into effect yet however. In the USA the Google searches for paintball has dropped progressively since the start of the GFC. (refer below)
Australian Paintball search stats are a little more forgiving but the trend is still negative. Australian searches are being propped up by the fact that the structure of the industry here makes it more conducive to work groups, bucks parties and birthdays.
So what makes tournament paintball so expensive? Paintball markers are pretty cheap when you you look at the second hand market. Facebook makes it easy to purchase paintball clothing including paintball masks interstate or internationally second hand. There are also plenty of Melbourne paintball players that sell gear on Facebook. The field fees to train are relatively inexpensive and are pretty widely available. Considering all of these the biggest expense is the paintballs.
Now this seems like something we have little control of and to a degree this is right. The margins on paintballs for licensed players is very low and the price is at the whim of the AUD/USD exchange rate. So what options do we have?
When you look at NSW where there are a significantly more active teams there only seems to be one major difference in the way things are done…. Ramping. To understand ramping I have added an explanation here.
The main advantage with Ramping from a financial standpoint is that it caps the rate of fire that is possible during a tournament. While it becomes easier to achieve most players are likely to shoot less paintballs and therefore compete for a lower price. As a side note ramping is used in other states and countries and it would also allow players to compete more easily in other states.
The other barrier at the moment is the cost of purchasing equipment when initially entering the sport. One way we have started helping in this area is by making it easier for new players to access second hand equipment. Players have already started donating used gear to a pool that new players can use or buy cheaply to get into the sport. Any money made from selling the gear is then used to help build and promote entry level players getting involved.