I've been saying this for a while now, and it's completely correct. The industry sponsors only advertise to the people already in the industry. There's no point. What does Dye and PE get out of sponsoring anyone except competing directly against eachother for money from existing players? Nothing. When was the last time you saw a commercial for paintball on TV, that didn't occur in one of the rare blue moon incidents of a paintball game being on TV? Never. When was the last time you saw a paintball player on a box of wheaties? Never. As it is, paintball can be pretty expensive to get started in compared to a lot of other sports where all you need is a ball and $40 worth of equipment.
Paintball, and specifically the tourney scene is a joke compared to other "Pro" sports. It's the only sport where you can have a local team, but NEVER get a chance to see your team play an official event locally. There is almost little to no team loyalty from fans. Sure, you might be a fan of xsv, or damage, but when was the last time you paid to watch them play, strictly as a spectator at your local field in their hometown during an official league event? In California of all places, hockey teams can fill 15,000 seat arenas for $45-$300 a ticket, no problem. Those fans can see their local teams play in person on a regular basis, and they do it. At the same time in that hockey arena, you have companies that have nothing to do with hockey, or even sports paying a half million dollars for an ad painted on the ice for the season, or a quarter million for ads on the boards, and even smaller local businesses paying at least a few hundred for their ad to scroll on the LED board that runs the circumference of the arena. THAT is how sponsors should work. Even some of the companies that general sportswear like tshirts and socks pay to have their advertisements up in front of a crowd who pays to sit and watch their local team. When the heck does Reebok, Nike, Underarmour, etc ever pay to have ads up at paintball events? Those same advertising dollars also translate into profits for television networks, to be willing to air events on TV. Dye, PE, Kee, Valken, etc cannot pay enough cash to ESPN or Fox Sports to air an entire season of a paintball league, they'd go broke. Hanes, Nike, Reebok, Fruit of the Loon, CocaCola, Pepsi, Taco Bell, McDonalds, Sports Authority, Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Nabisco, and on and on sure in the hell do have the combined money to front that. Look at Nascar, same thing. Companies pay assloads of money to racing teams, to paint their logos on cars, to drive around in circles for hours at a time on TV, with tens of thousands of spectators paying $20-$500 to watch cars just drive in circles.
As far as local tournies go, again the sport needs to draw in money from outside of the industry to support itself. Without that, yeah it's going to slide in the direction of woodsball/recball simply because airball is probably the least economical thing in paintball the way it's currently run.
To those who play other sports; when was the last time you got more than a token sponsorship from anyone besides a local retailer? If you have ever gotten enough money from soft drink or sports equipment manufacturers to at least play your sport for free, you're doing REALLY well. Any rec-league sport is going to be pay-to-play; the difference is that even hockey only costs you $200-$400 for a 3-6 month season; play every weekend for 3 months, and you'll be spending more than $200 just on field fees.
There are a few problems with making pro-series paintball a spectator sport (thus making companies want to put their logos all over the field):
* Players wear masks that make it difficult or impossible to recognize them. Yes, football and hockey players wear serious headgear too, but usually the camera can get a closeup of someone's face. Makes it hard to cheer for your favorite player. Better identification of all players with front, back and shoulder numbers is necessary.
* The limited situational awareness that makes paintball so fun to play (where's the other guy?) makes it difficult and downright boring to watch. You've all experienced it; watching the game progress from the sidelines because you got shot out early. More technically, it differs from any other field sport in that players are trying to conceal themselves behind a number of bunkers that break up the open field, which (surprise!) makes them hard to see on camera. Paintballs are also difficult to track visually unless you're looking along their avenue of travel.
* Why on earth would any advertiser want to put their logo on a field that will be covered in paint by the end of a game? The floor of the field is broken up by bunkers so logos can't be very big, logos on the walls outside the tape will get overspray and won't be shown much on TV, and logos on the bunkers that will be shown on TV will be covered in paint. Advertisers want their logos plainly visible if they'll be paying the kind of money it takes to get it on TV.
* The addition of cameras is not only difficult, it changes the game. In a game where taking other players by surprise is a key element, having cameras filming you gives the other players an extra cue to your location; no more surprise.
* The physical impact of paintball isn't like two football or hockey players colliding and going flying; it's a guy being shot. "Good moves" in paintball are lucky shots or bunkering, which don't make the satisfying "thud" when two football players collide, nor make the "don't wanna stare but can't look away" instant replays of someone getting seriously injured.
* You think World Cup soccer players whine too much? They've got nothing on paintball players who think they shot the other guy first.
If paintball is to be re-introduced to television audiences, it must be easy to understand. If I were designing the production, I would include a mini-map that would show the field, the player's/ref's positions, maybe the line or cone players are shooting along, and where the current camera shot is looking. The data would be updated by spotters on tablet PCs, or by a center camera looking down at the field. That way, people at home can see the overview they'd normally get from a center-line camera in other sports, when such angles don't work as well in paintball. A wire-cam or two, in a Lexan bubble with an auto-lens-cleaning feature similar to motor racing camera rigs, may also be an asset. Lexan walls outside the boundary tape but inside the safety netting, similar in some respects to a hockey rink, would allow perimeter cameramen more freedom to find good shots (but the glass might have to be hosed or squeegeed off mid-game to keep the good angles clear). Of course, lightweight lipstick cameras mounted on masks or markers would provide the perspective that players and first-person shooter fans know and love. Gun cams and helmet cams are nothing new; players don't like them because on the weight and increased target profile, but if it became a requirement like in auto racing, it would become accepted on the pro circuit. All of that is useless to the crowd in the stands without a jumbo-tron, which would be tricky as the players on the field shouldn't be able to watch their opponents sneaking around on the big screen.
All of this would be very expensive and may require rule changes, and you'd have to convince TV execs, advertisers and the leagues that the time, money and changes will result in a viewable spectator sport that people are going to watch. With paintball being labelled an "extreme sport", I think the best avenue for gaining acceptance is to try to bring it into the X Games in a format that is easy to watch and see what's happening. You might also get some traction taking the game into a football stadium; most of the equipment for cameras and play trackers, as well as ample seating, is available right there, along with rigging for things that have to be brought in for things like safety netting. The greensmaster would have a fit about brightly colored paint on his turf, though, and tent stakes for tethering bunkers would have to be re-thought; you'll probably end up setting up bunkers on ground lines running across or along the field, and those lines would be covered with some turf layer.
There are some good, and some moot points in your post. First of all, I play in a mens lacrosse league and we have sponsored teams including Pabst Blue Ribbon, Blue Moon, Green Turtle, Hooters, etc... so it is not hard to get money from sponsors if you make the right deals. Second this whole thing of "you can't film paintball" is complete B.S. I have heard people who are "experts" on the matter spout this out many times recently, and while they have a point that there is no central focus to watch... it isn't impossible.
If you watched the PSP cup they only went half-assed into it. If they had sponsorship money they could have had camera guys above the field just like every other sporting event, that gives nothing away. Think of the potential of helmet cam replays, John Madden style replays that show what is going on during a breakout, etc... This would have been much better as opposed to two static cameras duct taped to the spectator booth. If people thought outside the box a bit you would see what I am talking about with the sponsors, do you see dorito's signs all over a football field? No, you see it on the sidelines, you see the "instant replay brought to you by doritos" etc... etc... If it is to be done, it is to be done COMPLETELY, which in fact, has never been done for paintball.
All you need is some talented graphic designers and media majors, professional filming crews with GOOD equipment, and most importantly GOOD announcers. Good announcers meaning the kind of people like that in other pro sports. People who have a deep understanding of the game, but can re-iterate what the rules, terms, techniques, etc... to people who do not have a deep understanding of the game. This is something that is severely lacking in the industry, yes Nicky Cuba is a true expert, and a great guy... that doesn't make him a good choice for an announcer. There are too many inside jokes, terms, etc... that he spits during a professional broadcast that anyone who knows nothing about paintball would not get / enjoy.
The point is, if there is enough money and time invested into something instead of all these "get it out quick fixes" that the industry seems to revolve around you can do anything, and that includes reviving tournament ball to a whole new level.
And on another note the reason we are having a discussion like this is because of the severe lack of professionalism in this industry. There is no such thing as business / professional ethics in this industry that I can blatantly see. It is nothing but back stabbing, ship jumping, and back door deals. What these companies don't seem to get is that they're like gangs fighting over a street in downtown Oakland.... even if you win, all you got was a p.o.s. street that no one else but you cares about.