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Having A Ball

A paint-staking brush with fun.

Ready, aim . . . paint? Although fuddy-duddies may protest that paint was meant for walls and such, paintball wizards know this just ain't so. Indeed, paintball is enjoying such widespread popularity that Paintball Sports Magazine estimates it's now a $3 billion worldwide industry.

"The popularity is universal," raves Paintball Sports managing editor Jerry Braun. "When an adult plays the game, it engenders the same feelings [you have] as a child playing hide and seek. Your heart is in your mouth; you're scared to death your friend is going to find you."

To set your paintball bearings straight, we'll explain: The game involves shooting paint pellets at other participants with air guns. Any player struck with paint leaves the field in defeat. Reportedly safer than bowling, paintball is turning into the team-building activity of choice for hip corporations. "That's an exploding market," says Braun, who also points to professional sports teams such as the Pittsburgh Steelers that engage in paint-to-paint combat. "There is nothing else that gives you this kind of camaraderie and leadership development."

This story appears in the July 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »