Players have always been worried that paintball is slowing down, or that the world is losing interest in the sport. This consistency of opinions and rumors could be contributed to the fact that paintball is not an extremely popular sport in comparison to football, hockey, etc. Therefore, there won't always be a large amount of players at the field, or companies in the business. This doesn't necessarily mean that our sport is going to die.
Using the handy-dandy Google Keyword Tool, I did a bit of research on paintball and its relevance on the internet. Currently, the keyword 'paintball' is searched about 6,120,000 times per month globally. Not bad. However, according to Google Insight, this number is much lower than it was from years past. There has been a steady, significant decline in paintball related searches since 2004. Google predicts that this downward slope will continue through 2012.
Is this because paintball is dying? Kinda. The poor economy affects everyone, and paintball is an expensive sport. It only makes sense that as less people have spare cash, less people will be playing paintball. When more people have money, more people will play paintball.
The interest in paintball has not died. The fun and adrenaline is not dying. The sportsmanship and dedication that our players are known for is not going to disappear. When the time is right, our sport will pick back up. For now, most players are gathering on the recball fields, where paint is cheap and there are no radical tournament fees. It seems that recreational paintball is doing quite well considering the decline. As the economy picks back up, so will competitive paintball.
Now what can we as players do to help this happen?
Sitting around and complaining that paintball is dying isn't going to help. If you want paintball to grow, make it happen. Invite your friends to the field next weekend, and show them what paintball is all about. When you see new players at the field, encourage and help them so they stay in the sport. Make a YouTube channel or blog dedicated to paintball, and support those who are doing the same. Buy local.
It is up to us as players to help the game we love. I am not saying paintball is dying, no. But paintball is declining, and it is about time we did something about it.
Here is an interesting opinion from Mike, owner of TechPB: