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themrfreeze

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Reply with quote  #16 
I don't think there are any easy answers when it comes to the PBA.  There are obviously problems with how they operate now, as your average bowler really doesn't seem to care much about them.  Look at how poor turnout is at televised events...only a few dozen people show up to watch?  That's insane.

The logical thing to do would be to make the tournaments more interesting for the average league bowler by altering the format in such away that Joe Blow can relate to what he or she sees on TV. Some possible ways of doing this have previously been mentioned.  This does not mean that guys like portsider have to go without seeing strikefests, but that they should not be the ONLY thing we see week after week.

On the flip side, the singular goal of any network TV show is to bring in as large an audience as possible, and those in charge seem to think that only showing strike after strike or stupid trick shots is the way to pull in viewers.  Maybe I'm out of touch or something, but it seems to me that this is a short-sighted strategy that will, over the long term, alienate more existing bowlers from the sport than will bring in new bowlers.







mikeanthony8

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Reply with quote  #17 
Portsider, your opinions are valid and well said.  I don't in any way take away from what you have to offer in the previous post. 
Here's my thought:
When was the PBA most popular?  In the late 60's all the way through the 70's.  My belief is for many reasons including the money was proportionately much larger back then (taking into account inflation).  Participation in the US what also at it's highest levels during that timeframe. 
What happened to the sport since then?  Sports like golf continued to grow and command better sponsors with larger checkbooks (also MLB, NFL, NBA etc.). 
When my father won $100,000 in 1975 his season was compared to the PGA prize list and even by then they felt he would have won over $400,000 having that season back then.  Golf courses can command $150 for a round of golf, plus clubhouse prices for dinner and drinks.  Bowling centers get $12 bucks for 3 games and sell cheeseburgers and beer.  I ran Dublin Bowl from 1981 to 1984 (and Danville Bowl for awhile in that timeframe).  It doesn't matter how nice a center you offer your patrons, when it comes to league bowling bowlers will NOT pay any additional fees for it.  Each year during league meetings what happens?  The center tries to raise the fee 50 cents and every league in the place goes bonkers and threatens to move down the street to the biggest dump ever built. 
Our youth does not aspire to be a professional bowler (especially not the talented athletes).  They aspire to be golfers, football, basketball, and baseball players because that's where the money is. 
So I told this story for a reason.  If we want popularity and tv ratings, we must start with our youth.  Currently, we don't have a story for them to aspire to.  Thus they choose other sports.  Youth bowling is almost an afterthought.  The generation that LOVED bowling is getting older by the day and is now in their 60's to 80's and is slowly dying off. 
Look at soccer........kids everywhere are playing it.  Attendance is rising with cities like Seattle drawing 35,000 people per game in Qwest Stadium.  My daughter is 11, plays it, and watches it on tv.  Does anyone have any doubt the sport will continue to grow and someday be as big as some of the other sports?  I don't....why?  Because our youth grew up with it.  They will watch it, idolize the stars, buy their jerseys, play it, and attend games infusing money into the sport.  This is a prosperous, upward spiral business model. 
And my friends it's ALL about the MONEY.  People would watch bowling today right now, if they were bowling for $750,000 first prize and $3 Million an event or even $250,000 each week so someone could make a Million bucks a year.  Kids want to be the next superstar.
It's just not exciting seeing someone bowl for less than I make selling sausage. When I was about 20 people ask me if I wanted to bowl professionally.  Even then it was no.  Not for lack of love for the game.  It was for 2 reasons.  1) I honestly didn't think I was good enough to be great.  2) I didn't think making $100,000 (and paying all your own expenses) was that great of a job being on tour 9 months a year with no family life and barely making ends meet.  That was IF you were the best.  After expenses it didn't make any sense at all to me.  We were lucky, my dad was the best.  I saw a lot of lesser fortunate situations and families.  It hasn't gotten any better.......it's gotten worse.  It's a tough life and the guys that are out there truly love the game.   They aren't traveling in private jets, staying at rented homes or Marriots with Nanny's for their kids.   
It's unfortunate, and honestly, I don't believe the answer is higher scores and making it easy so it looks like anyone can do it.  Just my opinion.  It's a great conversation. 
As long as the PBA is attracting Motel 6, Denny's, and other VERY Blue Collar sponsors it's destiny is obvious.  Golf gets Rolex, Buick, etc.  So I rambled quite a bit this morning......however it's only 6am on a Sunday and I'm waiting to watch my not so great Seahawks play Houston at 10am.  Thus, I haven't had my coffee!  I do love the sport, I grew up with it........ unfortunately the solution is youth and money and I don't see either one on the horizon.
Final thought:  It used to take many years to become good at bowling.  Now you buy the equipment and torque it up and presto:  220 average.  It's too easy.  Heck, I bowled 18 games of practice the week prior to going, after not bowling for an entire year, and shot just under 1800 at the USBC last year.  That's not right and I'm not that good. 


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Mike Anthony
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Reply with quote  #18 
I've always joked that when you can knock down 10 pins from 60 feet easier than sinking free throws from 15 feet, you have a problem.
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mrbowling300

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Reply with quote  #19 
I strongly believe that ESPN wants to cater to the average Joe Bowler, or even those viewers not involved with bowling.  Their elementary tips kind of fall into that category.  What better way to attract viewership than to have sky high scores, where someone even has a chance to flirt with 300.  I suspect that "ordinary" people/bowlers love that kind of excitement to see perfection.  If a bowler has a run, by the 7th frame, the viewer may be calling other friends of his. 

On the other hand, I've always struggled with the face that the PBA/ESPN puts this show against NFL football.  It's "dead time" for ESPN, so whatever viewers they can get is a bonus. 

I guess the bottom line is the way bowling is treated, as a show/production, is do the least amount possible, the cheapest way, and try to make it as exciting as possible to get by.


mikeanthony8

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Reply with quote  #20 
It's now 24 - 0 Houston with 12:52 left in the second quarter against the Seahawks.  The beauty of TV is I can now turn it off and go to the gym.  BOY WHAT A CRUDDY GAME!  The Seahawks have fallen and they can't get up.



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Mike Anthony
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Reply with quote  #21 
Great point, Michael. I also believe Wholeheartedly that the late 60's, and the decade of the 70's, might well have been the best that the game of bowling has ever been. And I, as well, have fond memories of the incredible popularity of the game as far as our youth bowlers are concerned. When I bowled juniors, it was double shifts on saturdays, at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., junior/adult league on monday nights, and what seemed like a tournament per month to bowl in. What a wonderful time for the game.

I, as a fan of the game, certainly hope that the tour finds some way out of its marketing quandry. As you so aptly related, until a few larger-name sponsors can be enticed on board, and a few more bucks spread around to the players, it appears that the tour, as we know it, may go the way of the ivory-billed woodpecker. Just occasional sightings.

I'd sure miss it.


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