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by Bill Mills
Oct 15, 2001
The Society of Paintball Players and Teams is preparing to launch through the sales of memberships and announcement of their first event on October 22, 2001. This new player organization is designed to give paintball players a unified voice both within and outside the paintball industry.
According to SPPLAT founder, JJ Brookshire, the player organization has two key goals. The first of these goals is to represent SPPLAT members to the paintball industry. Presently, industry organizations such as the ASTM and PECC which are making decisions affecting players have members representing paintball manufacturers, distributors and retailers, but not players. SPPLAT intends to fill this role by keeping its membership informed of paintball trends in a quarterly newsletter, and then represent member feedback at industry meetings. The other main goal has the most immediate spin-off to members.
SPPLAT intends to tie in paintball more strongly to the mainstream world. At the present, when teams or tournaments look "outside" paintball for support, there are often difficult marketing questions to answer - how many players are there that are potential customers of the sponsor? SPPLAT will be providing its members with discounts and promotions from a variety of marketing partners. One such partner is Avis car rental. SPPLAT members will receive a free membership ($50 annual value) in Avis' preferred rental program. When a SPPLAT player rents a car under that program, there is immediate tracking that the car was rented for paintball - and national marketing numbers start coming together.
Brookshire plans to use that marketing data, to assist SPPLAT member teams and event promoters in garnering further support from these mainstream companies.
SPPLAT's business model is a for profit corporation, with its income generated from sales of memberships. "That makes the most sense," says Brookshire "because it means we have to provide value to our members in order to succeed." The corporate supporting sponsors provide no funding to SPPLAT, only discounts and bonuses to SPPLAT members in exchange for being promoted to the membership by SPPLAT.
According to JJ Brookshire, SPPLAT recognizes that there are three main types of paintball player, and he is working to make certain that membership includes benefits that will appeal to each group.
For the occasional, recreational player - the type who plays paintball a few times a year at local fields or on their own property, fields nation wide partnered with SPPLAT are offering promotions ranging from paint and air discounts to field entry fees. A number of paintball manufacturers are offering product rebates and upgrade offers exclusive to SPPLAT members.
For the scenario and big game player SPPLAT membership will offer discounts on entry, paint, or other expenses directly related to the event. According to Brookshire, Wayne Dollack 24 hour Scenarios and Viper Scenarios are already on board the SPPLAT program. Additionally SPPLAT is planning a charity fund raiser big game in 2002 with a team captained by a world famous science fiction actor (more info to come).
For the tournament player, tournament series which tie into SPPLAT will have benefit programs for members, and for the serious tournament player - numerous travel related companies have already signed on to provide bonuses to SPPLAT members - these include Avis, Hertz, Dollar, Choice Hotels, Amerihost, Ramada, Villager Inn, Knights Inn, Quality Inn, Days Inn, Clarion, Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn and more. Choice Hotels' offering as an example, is a 20% discount, which Brookshire notes is larger than their discount for AAA members.
Additionally, SPPLAT will work with local businesses in areas where SPPLAT will have a trade show booth (presently this includes World Cup, Dollack's Grand Finale, Mardi Gras Open, International Amateur Open, Skyball, 2002 NPPL events, and expectations for more) to provide extra player benefits. Restaurants neighboring the World Cup site in Kissimmee Florida offering player benefits will be identified by a SPPLAT logo sticker on their window.
Membership in SPPLAT will cost $35 per year, and include the player benefits package and a SPPLAT t-shirt with the SPPLAT logo on the front and "Paintball Player" in 14 languages on the back (foreign memberships will have an additional $5 postage charge). With the large benefits package available, Brookshire hopes that joining will be a no-brainer. At next year's planned big game, the entry fee discount is planned to be enough that it will be $15 cheaper to join and play than to play without joining.
Membership sales are scheduled to begin
on October 22nd, 2001 at the SPPLAT
Web Site, the 2001 NPPL World Cup, and at dealers and fields throughout
the United States who will be making them available through a commissioned
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