Courtesy DangerMan’s Lair | Digital Paintball Magazine
How Is Paintball 1 Year After COVID?
We reached out to long-time players, field owners, and industry professionals such as Dye Paintball. As other industries have adapted to COVID restrictions, so has paintball.
The surprise is paintball may be doing better as a result of COVID. How is it possible that paintball has benefited from a pandemic? The answer is in the double edge sword of restrictions.
Paintball Is One Of The Few Things You Can Do During COVID
A through-line became clear in researching the effects of COVID on paintball after 1 year. Restrictions have resulted in people re-allocating their time and money to the few things available to them. Paintball has seen the benefits and is bringing in a lot of new players. In fact, our sister publication DangerMan Media included paintball as one of 7 Safe Outdoor Activities For Couples and Groups During COVID. You may want to check it out.
Field Owner Perspective | TopGun Paintball: Carl Atkins
We focused on New Jersey field owners due to the massive restrictions New Jersey has levied on businesses. Think of New Jersey as the canary in the coalmine.
Adapting TopGun Paintball Field to COVID Restrictions
Carl Atkins of TopGun paintball in Jackson, New Jersey explains what changes his field has made after COVID hit. "We were fortunate in some ways such as sanitization. We’ve always cleaned masks with alcohol and disinfectant. One significant change is we everything we do more digital, such as Waivers and sign-ups."
Has The Pandemic Hurt Your Paintball Business?
For Carl and TopGun paintball, COVID has not hurt business. "We’ve seen a lot more first-time players. It’s been busier. We are one of the few things you can do during COVID. Especially in New Jersey."
COVIDs Negative Impact On Paintball
It’s not all been good. We asked Carl what negative effects COVID has caused. Carl refers to the total amount of players allowed to participate and social distancing guidelines. "It has negatively affected big game events with restrictions but once again we’ve tried to adapt and make it work."
COVID Restrictions and Paintball Scenario Events
TopGun hosts annual big game events. Polar Bears & Penguins is held every year on the same day as the NFL’s Pro Bowl (generally the last week of January or the first week of February).
TopGun’s Polar Bears & Penguins is their second-longest-running paintball TopGun." Asked for specifics on changes to Polar Bears and Penguins, Carl answers, "We’ve made changes to gameplay to ensure social distancing. We’ve made pre-reg a requirement and more organization on game day."
If you are reading this article before the event and want to attend, sign-up fast, and don’t forget to fill out a digital waiver.
Field Owner Perspective | Paintball Action Games: Barry Vansant
Insightful Thoughts From A Field Owner
Barry had this to say about the pandemic after a year of changes to his operation. In short, business has actually increased. What are his challenges? "Making sure we have enough mask systems to be able to accommodate more players across multiple sessions." Why would this be a problem? Even after cleaning with an anti-bacterial solution, they allow the masks to sit at least two days before their next use. Barry explains, "Until everyone is vaccinated and eases concerns, these changes come with challenges."
COVID means other simple changes too."Making sure people are keeping a safe distance from each other and at the counter." Says Barry. Like other fields, he requires advanced reservations since Delaware has mandated limits to the number of people allowed. His website like others provides player waivers which must be completed in advance.
The Same Story Is Repeating
DangerMan’s Lair spoke to other fields with the same points being made. On Target Paintball (Pemberton NJ), Quickshot Paintball (Shamong NJ), and other fields all cited people spent money on paintball they would normally have used on other activities no longer possible due to restrictions. Paintball for recreational paintball play has been way up for outdoor fields in 2020.
Are Paintball Manufacturers Surviving or Thriving In COVID?
Sources tell us that companies like HK are exceeding goals and quotas in sales. It comes back to a running theme in feedback.
The Biggest Name In Paintball Weighs In
Dye Paintball‘s Chris Williamson confirms what others claim. Sales are up. Chris first answered this question with a philosophical positive attitude. "Covid-19 has been terrible for many small businesses and paintball has had its side effects too in early stages of shutdowns. Early on forward-thinking industry members started a hashtag and marketing campaign that caught the attention of many. #paintballstrong was born. The goal bringing past customers back and retaining new and future players long-term in the sport we all love."
Dye Paintball doing?
Chris gave us some detail. "Dye is working hard each day to add additional inventory for at once sales and working with customers to get forecasts and pre-orders due to massive demand in product sales. Production is running at capacity and we are working with our manufacturing staff to fulfill all orders as quickly as possible with considerable growth taking place."
Paintball During COVID From The Player Perspective
Here is what he is to say about 2020 and paintball during COVID, "Since the pandemic started there were many things shut down, closed, or discontinued. From restaurants to schools, many things evolved. The one thing that stayed consistent and has continued to grow since being one of the first things to be open, was Paintball fields. Ever since I started traveling again for Paintball, whether it was for practice or fun, the fields always seemed to be packed. I feel it’s all because the sport is easily played due to the non-contact, and safety."
Ronnie was quick to point out that it is easy to think COVID helped paintball. It has been both a blessing and a curse. "Business is booming as they say for some of these fields. Whilst some closed like my local indoor field, another one opens. I recently checked out a new local indoor facility by me called Power Paintball. It truly felt like paintball in the early 2000s for me. New players and new faces stormed the place, as they eagerly were waiting to get on the field to enjoy the amazing sport. I predict that it will continue to grow and thrive for the better."
Perhaps the curse is over and a bull market is in the forecast for surviving businesses in all forms of paintball.
In Conclusion | 2021 Will Be Big For Paintball
There is no doubt that for those of us fortunate enough to survive the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions put in place for safety measures, 2021 will be a growth year in paintball. Woodsball and Speedball benefited in 2020 because of the way the sport keeps people distanced while also being outside. Now it will take those new players and add to the player population to the benefit of all.