Saturday, October 31, 2009

Who's the amb"ASS"ador now?

Ok, so I got up this morning and as usual, I got on line and read all of my favorite paintball sites for the latest rumors, stories and the hottest turbo up grade board for my already "gray area" marker. Our friends over at have an interview with Nicky Cuba that was conducted by One of the questions asked not only by but also by was, "How are you an ambassador of Paintball?". Great question!! That got me thinking, not just about how am I personally an ambassador of paintball, but what it actually takes to be one. One of the things Nicky commented on in his interview was how paintball was the most expensive sport to play. Now even though I don't believe paintball is all that expensive to play once you have all your equipment and become a member of the community (about $60 same as a round of golf), it can be quite a lot of money to get you to that point. Even a day out to the local field with rental equipment isn't as cheap as you think. Sure the fields have packages that start at around $50, but we all know once your there and you see some of the stuff the other guys are using, your already heightened nerves get the best of you and you opt for the better gun and larger quantity of paint and before you know it your into the day for $100 or more.

Let's say your going to be an ambassador and your already a long time member of the paintball community and you have a few different markers that you have accumulated over the years, as well as all the extra necessary gear needed to get a new player out on the field, minus the paint and entry of course and your ready to take out a new guy. Well here comes the part that's a little more tricky. Who do you take? I mean, you can't take anyone you know that's already played, because that's not the point and chances are anyone who knows you, knows you play paintball and if your the type of person who is already willing to take people and let them use all your equipment just so they can see what paintball is like, then you have probably already exhausted your list of friends and family who might be interested. So where does that leave you to find these new players? Should you put up fliers in the area with your contact info on it so anyone interested can get a hold of you? Do you let your local paintball shop and field know that you will be letting people use your equipment for free in place of renting from them so that you can get more people into the sport? (it's not like the people that would find out about your free gear from a field or shop weren't already interested and planning on paying for it themselves anyway) What if you just randomly walked around shouting out, "Hey, anyone wanna play's on me, well sort of!". I know I'm making this harder than it really is but bare with me, I have a point, well more like a plan. (although it's not perfect since I just hashed it this morning and I'm NOT a morning person)

Basically what I'm getting at is this. It seems to me that with today's economic paintball situation, being an ambassador to paintball is more about helping the industry get itself out of the trouble they put themselves in. It's like a bailout of sorts and I didn't agree with the governments bank bail outs.....but that's a different post.

Paintball Industry------> "Hey guys, I know that all these years we could have been spending money on outside advertisement and on getting a true governing body together in order to truly lay down a foundation for this sport so that we wouldn't be in this spot we are in now, but gosh darn it, patenting other peoples ideas, being the first to get on TV and supercharging our guns and loaders so they melt little kids who get shot by them was just way more important at the time. How about YOU guys, the ones that have been addicted to this sport for so long and have bitched and complained about how we have ruined things for you, how about you go out and try to drum up some new business for US so that YOUR sport can survive and flourish like it used".........

Now I'm all for helping the sport and doing right by others and all that hugs and kisses stuff, but when will the big boys who want to control this sport so badly, actually start doing things the right way in order to put this train back on its tracks instead of all this inner fighting and suing eachother BS. Alright, enough of my ranting....for now. Here's the idea/plan. Now, this plan takes a little giving on the parts on the big boys and possibly on the parts of local fields, but it's actually nothing in terms of the potential ROI.

We take, let's say the top 16 "pro" teams and tell them that they are going to be the ambassadors of this sport. I mean, we put them on this pedestal and really don't ask much, if anything from them in return right. Besides, who wouldnt be excited about going to play paintball for the first time with a PRO.....oh the stories they would have. These pro teams will be asked to take a minimum of 10 (could be more) new players out per month per team. (there is an easy way to validate and track this...we can discuss the specifics later) That's 160 new people every month (almost 2000 a year) going out and trying paintball that probably wouldn't have otherwise. Their respective sponsors will send them the necessary equipment they will need for this to happen (i.e. 10 tanks, 10 loaders, 10 guns, 10 masks, 10 harnesses, pods etc.) and the teams will keep this "rental" equipment at their houses to distribute when needed. The paint sponsors only have to send 5 extra cases a month with the teams allotted practice paint shipment. I say 5 cases because 1000 rnds per player is a good amount for the first time out. As far as guns go, almost every manufacture has a lower level version of their gun they can send out in order to help the sport and even if companies like Dye, Smart Parts, Luxe etc. didn't want to send out ten $1000+ markers to their pro teams as rentals, then they could always let Kingman or Tippmann fill that void....I mean it's for the betterment of the sport right, got to be an ambassador right? The local fields that these pro teams practice at, I'm sure wouldn't mind giving out free or even discounted entry to these 10 new players a month that wouldn't have been there otherwise anyway, so technically they aren't losing anything and its advertisement for their field. Now we have the equipment, the paint, the entry and the ambassadors. We just need to get these new players who have not been exposed to paintball before. I'll leave that part up to you guys.

Idea update** You could even make it a competition between teams to see who can bring the most new players each month.

This is by no means a perfect solution, but doesn't it seem a lot less one sided. The people who will benefit most from these new players is the manufactures. They should be the ones to foot the bill to get these players into the sport and since they wont do it in the form of OUTSIDE paper, electronic, radio or TV advertisement, then they should do it with the product and their pro teams that they already pay for. It's a double sided advertisement for them, not only are they advertising the sport of paintball which they all want to control, but they are doing it with their products so if and when these new players decide to buy, they will most likely buy the equipment from the sponsor package they used when they were introduced to paintball and if that equipment happens to be too expensive for them to jump into......well then we have another problem.....but that one is a lot easier to solve...I'll solve that one next at a's still early.