By Michael Cousins
The PBA’s recent change of ownership is just one more step in the right direction for the re-vitalization of Professional Bowling.
So far this season, we have had the opportunity to see the tour take off with the help and support of the partnership with Fox Sports. There has been more fan interest in the sport than I can remember in quite some time now.
It has been years since I have had customers come into the shop talking about the balls they seen such and such throwing on the show, or sitting at league hearing fellow bowlers talk about you know who winning you know what. And, as a bowler and as a fan of bowling, it has been awesome to see.
Then, of course, you had the PBA Playoffs and the Elias Cup which were — to no one’s surprise — both colossal successes. Both of these events were especially intriguing to follow, and we got to see so many different players with different styles competing on the same conditions, which I think was a huge part of the allure for both events.
Following the “Fox Swing,” we then got a chance to watch the Summer Swing via PBA.com and FloBowling. As I have recently written, this has been without a doubt my favorite portion of the tour this year. I won’t get into it too much here, but if you view my previous article on the event, you’ll see exactly what I loved so much about it. But, in case you don’t want to, I will just say it: IT WAS FANTASTIC!
All of these events have certainly led to the re-emergence and success of the “new” PBA, as I am henceforth calling it. And the acquisition by Bowlero is just one more step in that direction.
Despite what some of you have heard or read, Bowlero is not the Devil (yes, that is a Bobby Boucher/Water Boy reference — deal with it). You have heard that they’re buying up all of the locally owned centers and turning them into fun centers, etc. You have heard about the difficulties of working with them for events and, possibly, some other things as well.
Personally, I have no negative first hand experience to speak of. But here is what I can tell you: Bowlero is a big, big contributor for bowling. They do a lot. From their centers, to their Bowlero Elite Series, and now their acquisition of the PBA, Bowlero is trying to help grow the sport and help better it for all of us.
The biggest contribution the company can make for the PBA is in regards to sponsorship. You have to understand that Bowlero owns a lot of centers. And I mean A LOT! Between AMF, Bowlero, Bowl More, and Brunswick Zone, they have their hands in a ton of markets — and that is only going to grow.
So think about what that means for potential sponsorships and partnerships. With that many locations and that much pull, Bowlero can offer big time brands a chance to get into their centers — be it food, drinks, alcoholic beverages, etc. That could, in turn, help potential sponsors immensely.
Remember back when Pepsi was an actual sponsor? Or Budweiser? Michelob? The list could go on and on.
And I am not saying these particular brands will definitely come back or are even interested, but what I am saying is that it is now a possibility. And that was likely not the case before the acquisition. And that alone is huge for professional bowling and fans of professional bowling.
With bigger sponsorships comes more money, comes more shoes, and with more shows and more money comes larger prize funds, which — in the end — means a bigger, brighter future for the sport.