View Full Version : Live Bowling?

07-07-2003, 07:41 AM
NOTE: This post is mostly a personal rant.

Did anybody notice that there was live bowling being shown on ESPN yesterday afternoon(Sunday, July 6)? When did bowling rise in stature to the point where it merits live broadcasts? Why haven't the organizers of the various pool tours been able to get live broadcasts of pool on TV? Is there really such a disinterest in pool by corporate sponsors that we can't get the World Pool Championships shown live in the States? (Don't answer that, I know what the answer is to that particular question!)

Bowling and pool are similar in that they're both high-participation sports in the US, but it seems bowling has managed to rise above pool where ESPN is concerned. Nothing against bowling (although I'll admit, I'm not a big fan of bowling), but why is it that if you do a search on espn.com, you get tons of results for "bowling", but none for "WPBA" or "9 ball" (ok, I got some for 9 ball, but they were about Tiger Woods, Dave Kingman, and eBay sales)? Why is there a link to "The Great Outdoor Games," but nowhere can you find information about our beloved game of pool on one of the largest sports websites in the world? Arrgh! Calgon, take me away!

djb <-- Waiting for the day when I can plan my evenings around "Monday Night 9 Ball with Billy Incardona and John Madden" on ABC

07-07-2003, 08:53 AM
Why bowling? Well, I for one can speak to both sides of this as I used to be a professional bowler. So...

Marketing.... The PBA is now owned by a group of people, some of which used to do marketing for Nike. They have really raised things dramatically over the last 2 years and not only have gotten better TV contracts, but better sponsorships for tournaments, year end tournaments and overall prize funds for each and every tournament. They now actually have an event paying 100K for first place, which is a HUGE jump from a few years ago considering there premier event may have paid out 30K for first.

Due to there efforts, more players now have a chance to make a living on the PBA tour, as opposed to before when you needed to be in the top 10 to make any substantial money.

It would really be great to see someone take professional pool and take it to the next level. I have no idea on the inner workings of the UPA and such, but it seems to be far from as organized as the PBA is, and as such, will probably continue to minimal progress.

Basically, I feel that if all the different groups came together instead of all these "contract" issues and such, maybe pool could have a better chance.

07-07-2003, 09:05 AM
Just some more information on how well the PBA has done with the new ownership...

Hired former Nike sports marketing executives to fill key executive positions:
Steve Miller, PBA President/CEO
Fred Schreyer, PBA Commissioner
Mark Bisbing, Vice President PBA Tour Operations

Signed an exclusive three-year deal (with a three-year option) with ESPN in 2001. In addition ESPN produces and runs promotional spots each year on ESPN and ESPN2 to point viewers towards PBA telecasts.

Increased ratings and household impressions for the second straight season (.89 average rating / 775,354 average households in 2002-2003).
Increased ratings 25% and impressions 36% over the last two seasons.

Began live webcasting the quarterfinals round, and have the round of 16 and ESPN finals available for on-demand viewing.

After having two sponsors for the 2001-2002 season, the PBA now has 11 sponsors. These sponsors have integrated their PBA sponsorship with their products or are incorporating promotions around the sponsorship. (i.e. Banquet foods – 100 million frozen food package had a free game of bowling on the package, plus the 2002-2003 season schedule. Odor-Eaters is having a “Split with a $1 Million Bucks” promotion…one lucky fan who enters will win the chance to win $1,000 to convert a five-pin spare, $10,000 to roll a strike and $1 million to convert the 7-10 split).

Gives stock options to top 70 bowlers every year – a first for any sports league/organization.

07-07-2003, 09:20 AM
Not much of a mystery here. First, you attract an audience. That attracts paying sponsors, and the networks will never be far behind.

07-07-2003, 09:35 AM
There is almost no such thing as pro pool, what are you going to market? No product and no leadership, I would not call the short sighted quick buck idea of having a pool school every few months as real promotion of the sport. Pool exists almost in a void. An interesting parallel to pool and bowling is the pros are for the most part unknown. You don't see a pro bowler doing any commercials and I could not name more then two myself. The real difference is at the top, the guys in charge know what they are doing and they have been doing it right for almost 50 years regarding TV. To be honest, pool is not even in the same ball park.

07-07-2003, 09:51 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bolo:</font><hr> There is almost no such thing as pro pool The real difference is at the top, the guys in charge know what they are doing and they have been doing it right for almost 50 years regarding TV. To be honest, pool is not even in the same ball park. <hr /></blockquote>
I think maybe the REAL real difference is that as far as men's professional pool, there is no one at the top, and I'm not even sure there is a "top". Without organization (not player organization), structure, and some business minded people bringing it together, not much is going to happen.

On another post here, Mike Janis is trying to bring all of the regional tours together under one banner. He just might have something there. Organization, sponsorship, prize money. I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of pros playing on that tour should it ever come about.

Steve~~~watching this develop with great interest.

07-07-2003, 09:55 AM
I totally agree on the regional tours. They have done that exact same thing will all the PBA regional tours as well and the Senior PBA tour.

07-07-2003, 10:05 AM
Truth be told, pool exists as an amateur sport. Maybe that is where it should start. Televise some of the APA tournaments and play 8 ball instead of 9 ball. Forget about trying to feed the pros for a while and widen the public interest in the game. As big as it is pool is a drop in the bucket as far as the public is concerned. The bottom line is, it will never happen, there will be no $250,000 a year executives in charge of promoting pool any time soon if ever. Like anything, you need people who know what they are doing. They don't have to even be pool players or know anything about the game, just do what they are hired for.

07-07-2003, 10:21 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Singlemalt:</font><hr>

...Increased ratings and household impressions for the second straight season (.89 average rating / 775,354 average households in 2002-2003).
...<hr /></blockquote>

As a point of reference I believe pool averages 400,000 to 500,000 viewers, so there is potential IMO. Just need some wise men to tap that potential.