I had the pleasure to speak to Craig Miller, Senior VP of Procaps and DraXxus paintball, as well as VP of the newly formed Paintball Sports Trade Association. The PSTA has one clear mission: Increase the awareness, acceptance, and participation of Paintball all over the world. We asked Craig some questions that might help clarify what the PSTA’s purpose is.
Q: What is the ultimate purpose/goal of the PSTA?
Craig: The Mission Statement says it best: “To increase the awareness, acceptance, and participation in Paintball around the world”.
Q: How was it started and who’s idea was it?
Craig: It began in a Disney’s Wide World of Sports meeting room at the 2005 PSP World Cup. Many people within the industry have conversationally agreed over the years that our industry needs an industry association to promote Paintball to the world at large, and to be a clearinghouse for information on the game, on safety, on best practices, and Paintball in general. Most industries and sports have associations that do all of these things, and now finally, Paintball joins the ranks of Baseball, Football, Basketball, Rugby, Soccer, Hockey, etc., with an industry association to promote the safe growth of our great game.
Q: Who’s allowed to become a member?
Craig: In order to maintain manageable and controlled growth, and to ensure the association’s survival, a decision was made to first begin with a small group of the larger manufacturers, so that meeting attendance would be limited in size, and initial progress would be swift. If the early membership outreach had been wide open, then the first meetings might have had over a hundred people in the room, making progress and consensus totally unmanageable.
This year’s plan is to begin a tiered membership outreach, layer by layer, inviting medium and then smaller manufacturers, and creating committees and membership representation for every business group and faction, including insurance companies, event promoters, field operators, retailers, the media, etc., so that every contingent within the industry has a voice.
Q: What can the PSTA do for entrepreneurs looking to run a business in the Paintball industry?
Craig: A quick visit to the PSTA’s non-commercial website, www.Paintball.org, will show that there are already tremendous free resources available through the PSTA. The site has guidance and information for everyone; new players, parents, field operators, retailers, woodsballers and tournament players, referees, and the site is only 2 weeks old. Contributions and content have been submitted from most of the major magazines, websites, and distributors, and more resources are being added every week. This site is quickly become THE portal of entry into Paintball for the outside world, and in just 2 weeks time it has already risen to Google’s Page 1 for searches under the word “Paintball”, a remarkable achievement.
Over time, the PSTA’s efforts to increase first-time player traffic will serve to greatly enhance the business environment for every Paintball entrepreneur, and the organizations efforts to perpetuate safety awareness and compliance will be a very positive aspect as well.
Q: What are some future plans for the PSTA involving the growth of Paintball as a sport?
Craig: The association will soon form a committee to evaluate the options, budgets and implementation of a major-media outreach to invite the general public to try Paintball, with a “Got Milk?” style campaign. Discussions are underway to utilize the website as a database to direct interested people to their nearby fields, and there have been suggestions of a field accreditation program to ensure that first timers would have a common experience regarding safe practices. Member suggestions have also included the desire that people who respond to a mainstream “Try Paintball” ad campaign would be referred to safety-accredited sites that offer both recreational woodsball play AND tourney style speedball, so new participants can decide which “world” they prefer.
Many of these concepts are still at the early stages, and some are merely positive suggestions from various members, but the association plans to progress quickly so that the entire industry can begin benefiting from the collective efforts of this industry association. The group plans to meet again within the next two months to set priorities, form more committees, and begin tackling the many important tasks before us. We need the support of the entire industry, and for every member of the industry and media to help promote awareness of this important not-for-profit organization, in order to help us succeed with these important goals as quickly as possible…
Beyond that… we’ll see you out there!
Vice Chairman, Paintball Sports Trade Association
Senior Vice President, Procaps LP-DXS/DraXxuS Paintball
Thanks again Craig for taking time out for the interview.