Paintball has been around for decades. And interestingly, anyone can play the sport, a reason it has remained a recreational activity of choice for many over the years.
Paintball was very popular and a weekend recreational activity for families and friends.
But today, many other sports have popped up, and suddenly, it seems people don’t take about paintball as they used to.
Now here’s the question people have been asking regarding the popularity of paintball.
Is Paintball Still Popular?
Yes, paintball is still popular ever since its invention in the 1960s. But it isn’t as popular as several sports such as soccer, baseball, cricket, etc.
The popularity of paintball isn’t increasing as fast as other sports, though there’s a sign it will pick up in years to come.
Several factors contribute to paintball’s slow rise, but the thought that it has died isn’t true. Paintball is gradually gathering pace, as you can see. Some events and fields have started witnessing increased participation in the sport.
Are Paintball Players Increasing?
One thing you should know about paintball is the game’s popularity, since 2000, has been fluctuating.
Many paintball players have moved to other sports in search of greener pastures. There’s hope paintball will become a massive hit in the future, so players need to be patient.
Statista’s report shows that the number of professional paintball players in the United States has decreased.
It is safe to say that paintball is still popular, but the passion for the game, professionally, is dwindling fast. People still love it as a recreational sport, though.
However, the Statista report shouldn’t discourage any future paintball player but offer encouragement. Since it has fewer players, there’s a massive opportunity for individuals who want to play the sport professionally.
Now, let’s discuss the reasons for its stunted growth since 2000.
Reason For Paintball’s Stunted Growth Since The 2000s
If you have been playing paintball or following the sport since 2000, you’ll agree that its popularity hasn’t increased as expected.
Again, the notion that paintball is dying or dead isn’t true. But everyone knows it’s experiencing stunted growth.
Several factors are responsible for paintball’s stunted growth, and the sooner we start realizing them and making the needed adjustments, the better.
Ask several people what they think about paintball, and you’ll hear lovely things about it. Then, take it a step further; ask them why they aren’t involved. You’ll discover that many consider paintball to be a “luxury hubby.”
The truth is the cost of playing paintball can be higher than most interested players’ budget, forcing them to embrace other less expensive options.
Buying a paintball isn’t the only investment you’ll have to make. One has to get the proper protective gear and pay for field admissions.
As you already know, playing paintball on the street or public domain is illegal. You could get arrested or cautioned for doing so. The only place designated to play paintball is the paintball arena.
Now, “how did the economy influence the popularity of paintball?”
You can see from the statistics that paintball’s players have been decreasing since 2000, and the recession experienced from 2006 to 2007 made it even worse. It contributed to paintball’s downward trajectory.
The thing is, paintball requires some form of investment. One needs a paintball, gear, and admission into the paintball arena to play the game.
So, financial flexibility is crucial to paintball’s rise. Those interested in the sport need money to splash at the local arena without thinking twice.
As the economy continues growing, we may witness a massive growth in the game.
Advancement in Technology:
Technology is a blessing to humanity. Its advancement has also opened our eyes to see that anything is possible.
Humans have solved several problems thanks to technology. Technology has also made our lives easier in diverse ways.
But let’s be honest, technology is one of the reasons people’s attention is gradually shifting from games like paintball. The increase in the number of mobile phone users hasn’t helped either.
Today, the number of mobile phone users has skyrocketed. Approximately 6.6 billion people currently have a mobile phone, 86% of the global population.
Now, how does this impact paintball? Let’s not act biased. Paintball isn’t the only sport that’s affected. But the focus in this post is on paintball.
Today, most people find comfort with their mobile phones rather than going to the paintball arena with friends. Many find the latter a waste of time when they can get all the entertainment in the world on their mobile device.
Most people may even favor playing paintball on their mobile phones over doing the same in real life. They forget that participating in the game offers more than entertainment. Your body and mind benefit when you play paintball.
So, people need to change their habits. We need to stop encouraging sedentary lifestyles and make playing sports like paintball, and others, a vital part of our lives.
Promoters of the game need to amplify the benefits of the game. Let people know that paintball offers more benefits than entertainment.
We can’t do anything to stop people from using their mobile phones, but we can make paintball more attractive in their eyes, such that they’ll consider abandoning their devices for an hour or more to play paintball.
Politics is one of the significant factors that have stunted the growth of paintball. Reforms by the government and reactions from communities towards paintball guns haven’t been the most pleasing.
The advent of gun reforms hasn’t helped this cause. Then, the final nail in the coffin is the mass shooting that has become an epidemic plaguing the country.
Now, get something straight. The federal government doesn’t have laws limiting the use of paintball guns. It doesn’t consider a paintball gun, a weapon or firearm that possesses serious threat.
Unfortunately, laws in this country vary from state to state. In some states, paintball is viewed as a weapon and, thus, treated as a firearm, like real firearms (even though it can’t inflict similar bodily injuries).
In states that recognize paintballs as firearms, one has to pass through the same process as obtaining a firearm to purchase a paintball gun.
Additionally, laws on the transportation of paintball guns exist in these states. So, the best way to transport the paintball gun is to dismantle it and leave it in the packaging. You also have to follow the state’s law on transporting paintball guns.
So, the government’s gun reform hasn’t helped paintball’s growth. Another factor is legal battles between companies, creating a situation where the smaller companies had to option but fold up or be bought by bigger ones.
There are also reports of politics taking place in events, ultimately forcing several venues to close down permanently.
If these challenges were to happen to other sports, the impact would have been similar to paintball. So, the sport’s promoters should look into these issues and take the proper steps to tackle them.
No sport or activity that faces steady attack survives. So, let’s give it to paintball for staying strong despite the negative image several countries have tried to paint the sport with.
Some countries and states have indeed placed strict regulations on paintball guns. Some have even considered a complete ban.
For instance, in Germany, some kids vandalized a car using a paintball gun, giving the government a reason to consider banning the sport.
Now, ask yourself this simple question. Would the government have considered banning golf if the same kids had vandalized the car using a golf ball? The answer is no!
The hostile reception paintball is getting might be because of the name “paintball gun.” People treat it as a real gun, even though it’s not close.
So, let’s start by creating a good image of the sport. Instead of “paintball gun,” we can use the name “paintball marker.” They’re both the same thing, though the latter would let the world know paintballs aren’t as dangerous as they have been made to appear.
So, is paintball still popular? Yes, it is, but its growth has been stunted for several reasons, which we have tried to explain in this post.
Several factors have created severe challenges for paintball, resulting in the sport’s downward trend or stunted growth. These factors include technology, politics, economy, and promotion.
We have taken time to explain each of these factors, including how they have created challenges for paintball.