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In the late 1980s, and even into the mid 1990s it wasn’t unheard of to tune in a national cable television network and see a show about paintball produced by Bob Gurnsey, NSG, Jerry Braun, or Fred Schultz.
These shows ranged from explaining the sport with variety format interviews and highlights from tournaments and big games to sportscast style tournaments run for the purpose of TV production. In the intervening years shows like Traumahead Sports and Paintball Gladiators have showcased paintball in regional cable TV markets, and PigTV has brought technical interviews and game action to a worldwide audience via webcasting, but no new paintball shows have managed nationwide distribution on a cable sports channel.
Getting paintball back on mainstream sports television has been a dream of many - from players who sent in letters petitioning ESPN to produce a show, to independent producers like Eduardo Ugalde and Leonardo Ugalde, who conceived Splatter Factor. The two envisioned a paintball news/variety show that would showcase the best the sport had to offer in both events and equipment, and help publicize the game to people who were not yet familiar with it.
The road to bringing Splatter Factor to air would not be an easy one. It started with a commitment to promoting the sport of paintball to the public without compromising its integrity, or necessary safety aspects. Raising funds to cover production costs and staff, is one hurdle, but convincing a major network to gamble on a new show, or raising the funds to flat out buy air time is another. Plans to be on the air with Fox Sports in 2000, and ESPN in 2001 did not materialize. For the 2002 season however, things began to take shape. Armed with sponsorship from some major players in the sport of paintball, and additional producers including Daniel Sacchetto and NPPL President Chuck Hendsch, dates were set for late spring air time. Further delays stemming from sponsoring paintball companies needing time to get their commercials ready forced a further pushback of the show’s premier June 14th.
On June 14th, the first episode of Splatter Factor will be broadcast on Fox Sports and Sunshine Network in numerous markets across the US. Because air times will vary in different areas, players will need to check local listings, and or the Splatter Factor web site (www.splatterfactor.com) to find out when they will be able to see the show.
The show’s producers and sponsors are hoping
that the paintball community will take the time to tune in to these shows,
and tell their friends to do so as well. Higher ratings will mean
more than a benefit to them - they will prove to advertising companies
and network executives alike that there is an audience for paintball shows
on television - and that will pave the way not only for more episodes of
Splatter Factor, but for the appearance of other news shows and sponsorship
of paintball events, teams and shows by “mainstream” companies such as
manufacturers sports drinks, soft drinks and clothing.
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