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NPPL Super 7 Announcement

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NPPL Announces Super 7
By Bill Mills


Through the 2002 NPPL/PSP season, the relationship between the league (NPPL) which set the game rules and sanctioned the events, and the promoters who produced the tournaments (PSP) was tenuous at best.  The first tournament, the LA Open happened before sanctioning contracts were in place, but it was operated as an NPPL sanctioned event.  By the time the Las Vegas tournament was held an agreement had still not been reached, and the tournament was not sanctioned by the league.  Following Las Vegas, the NPPL announced that it would be holding a Chicago tournament the same weekend as PSP’s Chicago Open (a tournament previously NPPL sanctioned).  After bantering back and forth between both sides, agreement was reached, and the competing event was dropped.  The Chicago Open, Atlantic City Open, and Paintball World Cup all ran with the NPPL’s blessings.  However, there had been a marked change in the way in which the events were promoted by PSP.  No longer did the name NPPL appear in their promotional materials.  It was clear that Paintball Sports Promotions was putting emphasis on their name, as the people who had been producing the NPPL tournaments, preparing for the possibility that they would not be working with the NPPL in the 2003 season.

According to NPPL president Chuck Hendsch, he had hoped to negotiate the 2003 season by September 2002.  By late October, when the Paintball World Cup was held, these negotiations had still not been completed, while Hendsch’s new plans included new structuring that even removed the requirement of the promoters to pay a sanctioning fee to the league, planning to fund league expenses through membership charges and corporate sponsorship.

Numerous rumours have circulated since Paintball World Cup 2003 about various negotiations between NPPL, PSP, Millennium Series, and corporate sponsors, and what the 2003 season would hold.

On November 11th, 2002, the National Professional Paintball League officially announced its plans for the 2003 season by unveiling the NPPL Super 7 series, an international series of 7 man tournaments.  For the full body of the release, click here.  This represents a departure from the league’s traditional 10 player and 5 player format games. 

By switching to 7 man format, the NPPL is able to tie more directly into Europe’s flagship Millennium Series events.  New focuses of the league are on improving reffing, something the league worked on over the 2002 season through the use of PRO referees, lighted fields to run games at night, and the use of grass exclusively as a playing surface are amongst the league’s goals. 

By counting points from selected Millennium Series events as part of the NPPL series rankings, and select NPPL events in the Millennium, European teams will be encouraged to compete in the US, and American teams will travel overseas in order to have a solid shot at taking the series title.  Another new feature planned for the NPPL, is an actual prize for winning the series title.  In recent years, NPPL series titles have been little more than a trophy, if that.  For 2003, the league is planning series prizes of $15,000, $40,000, $30,000 and $20,000 for pro, amateur, novice, and rookie champions.  This also marks a radical change from the league’s past practice of offering cash prizes to pros, and prizes of paintball goods to amateur, novice and rookie teams. 

While Paintball Sports Promotions has not yet made official announcements about changes for the 2003 season or how they will be affected by separation from the NPPL, casual interviews with verious PSP staffmembers have revealed that their plans for 2003 include the addition of their Mardi Gras Open tournament into the PSP series, adding it to the LA Open, Las Vegas Open (likely to see a new location), Chicago Open, Atlantic City Open, and Paintball World Cup.  PSP intends to remain a 5 and 10 format series, with the addition of X Ball for NXL professional franchise teams, and a possible addition of X Ball competition for a select number of non-franchise teams who wish to compete in the new format.

Announcements of NPPL 7 man tournament dates for 2003 are expected to be made by the middle of December, 2002.   Players will have to wait to see if the NPPL and PSP will set their their events on the same dates as direct competitors, or choose different dates offering teams a chance to try both to compare quality and value.

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