Paintball Empire Falls

    • Paintball rose in prominence in the early 2000s, but its recent struggles were exacerbated by the pandemic.
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A paintball empire is going bankrupt. Quebec-based G.I. Sportz and affiliate Tippmann Sports have “no ability to repay” $29 million of debt, according to Bloomberg. A court-appointed receiver is expected to sell the businesses.

G.I Sportz, which says it is the largest global manufacturer and distributor of paintball-related products, racked up more than $45 million in losses since the end of 2018. That was only exacerbated in 2020, as many indoor paintball facilities were closed due to COVID-19.

Paintball rose in prominence in the early 2000s, gaining airtime on ESPN networks while more than 5.5 million people participated in the sport nationwide in 2007, according to SIFA. However, that popularity has slid since — there were just 2.9 million participants in 2019.