Opinion: Paintball League Merger Thoughts by Jeff Stein

The second submission to the ProPaintball Merger discussion comes from Jeff Stein. Mr. Stein owns and coaches the New England Hurricanes, a team that competed in both the NPPL and PSP from 2004 through 2009, and currently competes in the PSP. Stein served on the NPPL steering committees in 2005, 2006, 2008, and served as PSP Prize Coordinator in 2002-3. Jeff has been involved with local stores, fields and tournaments since 1992 and currently owns a field in Rhode Island. When not fielding a team or running his park, Stein works as a project manager for an interactive television firm in NYC.

Jeff was invited to the ProPaintball panel. As with the rest of our panelists, Jeff was asked the following question:

What do you think about the failed negotiations between the NPPL and PSP? Is this good or bad for paintball, and why?

Here is Jeff’s opinion:

Team owner and business professional Jeff Stein“The sport, industry, teams and players are all best served by having one league, be that achieved via merger, acquisition or the dissolution of one of the existing leagues. So whatever the method, coming to a single national league serves the greatest good. It would allow for the defractionalization of resources, allow a truly national (or even international) team and perhaps player ranking, and would allow our still fledging sport to focus on growth opportunities – such as webcasts. Although, we should forget about TV; we don’t have a product that is appealing to a broader audience so any “progress” we make towards televising national competition will add another failure to the already too-long list of failures that we will someday need to overcome if we ever develop that “ready for prime time” product.

So, in that regard, the failed merger appears to be a bad thing for the sport of paintball.

Having said that, if you believe that the managing group of one of the leagues is deficient, dishonest or delusional, then a merger provided short term gains with long term costs; namely giving some of that deficient group a permanent seat at the table. By “failing” to merge, market forces will dictate which league offers the superior product (because, eventually, even the wealthiest sponsor gets bored) and the superior league will continue on uninfected by undesirables from the failed league.

So, while I think failing to come to one league for 2012 is a negative and could have a tangible impact on the sport, that impact will be short term and if a single league was to be achieved by a merger that would by necessity water down the superior product (and leadership group), then I’ll accept the short term loss for the long term gain.

We WILL come to one league. Hopefully not by merger.”

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