Industry leaders tout PBA-FOX TV deal, equipment specification changes
Reports from the 2019 Bowling Proprietors Association of America Summit in New Orleans, La., last week – a three-day event that I had the good fortune to attend -- painted an optimistic and evolving picture of the sport’s current and future state of affairs.
Executives from the BPAA, United States Bowling Congress, Professional Bowlers Association, Go Bowling!, Strike Ten Entertainment and the International Bowling Campus in Arlington, Texas, presented an industry update to the 250 or so proprietors/managers and representatives of affiliate organizations who gathered at the New Orleans Marriott on Canal Street.
Recent developments, such as a new PBA contract with FOX Sports that features more live telecasts and an increase in collegiate and high school bowling, give the powers-that-be reasons to feel encouraged about “the future for the sport.”
Chad Murphy, USBC executive director, reported the completion of a nationwide initiative for local associations to become “merged associations” – bringing men, women and youth together under one local umbrella. The result is that there are now 1,100 merged associations and another 500 affiliate (limited) associations in the U.S.
Beyond that, Murphy said, 343 local and state association directors and managers have attended USBC Leadership Training classes in Arlington and at other selected sites (paid for by the USBC) and that these classes will continue in 2019.
Genesee Region USBC board members Tom Fluker, Gary Kuchler and John Wood are among those who have taken the course and all said the information provided has helped them in their local roles.
The USBC has been conducting extensive research into bowling balls, lane conditions and lane surfaces in recent years, and are taking steps to even the playing field, so to speak.
Murphy said changes to bowling ball specifications (the cleaning of a ball, pending elimination of balance or weight holes and the rate of oil absorption) and to lane certification requirements are planned.
As of Aug. 1, 2019, bowlers will not be able to clean balls with any liquid substance during competition (unless there are marks from the pinsetter), and as of Aug. 1, 2020, balance holes will be eliminated.
This means that any holes in the ball (up to five will be allowed) must be used for gripping purposes on every delivery. Additionally, no-thumb bowlers will have to mark the intended grip center of the ball.
The USBC also is implementing a new standard for the rate that balls absorb oil, with the baseline set at a maximum of 2 minutes, 15 seconds.
“We have tested more than 1,200 bowling balls,” Murphy said, “and found that bowlers are starting deeper inside on the lane and moving more often, which deteriorates the lane condition quicker.”
He said that the amount of oil being put on lanes has increased dramatically over the years (in response to balls that hook more and more), which warrants a “universal system to measure oil absorption.”
On the subject of lane certification, Murphy said that data collection continues and will result in the USBC certifying all centers for 2018-19 regardless of whether they are 100 percent compliant. For 2019-20, USBC is extending the study but all centers must have proper inspections and three signatures will be required for certification.
Other highlights from the New Orleans summit:
-- Bowlers across the nation in 2018 donated more than $1.4 million to the sport’s primary charity -- Bowlers to Veterans Link.
-- BPAA membership gained 193 new members this year and saw 300 proprietors and managers graduate from the BPAA “Bowling University” course.
-- The Professional Women’s Bowling Association had 150 members in 2018 and tournament entries were up by 10 percent over 2017. Nearly $1 million in prize money is being offered this year and seven tournament finals will be televised live.
-- Tom Clark, CEO and commissioner of the Go Bowling! Professional Bowlers Association, reported that the PBA has signed a multi-year contract with FOX Sports, including a provision to add the USBC Masters and U.S Open to the network’s sports schedule.
FOX Sports will televise the U.S. Open live on FOX from 2020 through 2022 and the USBC Masters live on FS1 from 2019 through 2022.
-- Gary Brown, IBC Youth managing director, reported that there are now 221 colleges (with 3,825 members) with bowling programs and that high school bowling saw a 6 percent increase in bowlers last year.
Brown noted that IBC Youth offers coaching seminars, USA leagues and tournaments, Pepsi Youth Championships, the bowling.com youth open and Junior Gold – resulting in opportunities for thousands of youth bowlers and more than $800,000 in scholarships.
SLOCUM FAMILY SHINES AT GRUSBC ADULT-JUNIOR
Perry's Matt Slocum bowled with his daughter and son at the 2019 Genesee Region USBC Adult-Junior Tournament at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen and both of them went home smiling.
Slocum and Allie Faryna posted 1,390 to take first place and he and Gavin Slocum registered 1,342 for second place in the 12-and-Under Division. As a result, Allie's scholarship account is $220 richer and Gavin's increased by $180.
Two other duos cashed in that division of the Jan. 11-13 tournament -- Albion's Reid Cole (adult) and Kyle Brett, 1,341, for $140, and Mount Morris' Chad (adult) and Dominic LaPiana, 1,301, $100.
In the 13-and-Over Division, Jerry Menzie Jr. teamed with his little sister, Jillian, for a remarkable 1,575 score to take the $240 first place prize.
Other cashers were Dave DiSalvo (adult) and Trent Willis of Mount Morris, 1,493, $210; Paul Baney (adult) and Gavin Baney of Holley, 1,416, $180; Dan Santini (adult) and Alexis Patterson of Mount Morris, 1,394, $150, and Tom Fluker (adult) and Tony Sprague of Batavia, 1,361, $120.
Adults were entitled to their prize money unless they opted to have it placed in the youth's scholarship account through USBC SMART.
The tournament drew 44 teams.
NEWS & NOTES FROM THE GENESEE REGION
-- With help from her bowling friends, Byron-Bergen High School junior Jillian Menzie spearheaded yet another tremendous fund drive in support of the Arc of Genesee Orleans.
Menzie, along with Megan Jarkiewicz, collected more than $3,900 in donations (cash and gift certificates) from the Bergen-area community through the Arc Bowl-A-Thon at Rose Garden Bowl.
It is a tradition started over 40 years ago by her grandmother, the late Ellen Menzie, a longtime youth bowling coach and director.
All told, the Bergen youth bowlers raised $4,266.40, with John Gabalski, Evan Phillips and Landon Kent also contributing by getting pledges. Without a doubt, a superb effort by all!
-- The team of Amanda Swartz, Rob Carter and Kenny Maurer combined for a 2,611 no-tap score with handicap to take the top prize of $600 at the 7th annual Scott Whittier Memorial Tournament at Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion.
More than $1,100 was raised for the Albion Alumni Association to support graduating seniors and youth scholarships. Sixty-five teams competed.
Batavia teams placed second and third – John Wolff, Ron Lawrence and Marshall Merle, 2,522, $300; and Josh Elliott, Mike Lambert and Matt Balduf, 2,513, $240. Martin Beadle, Rob Brown and Jim Stymus of Albion were fourth with 2,495, good for $195.
-- Bowlers, friends and businesses donated $2,800 as a result of the Jim Pursel Benefit Tournament at Mancuso Bowling Center.
Forty-three teams entered the event, which was held to assist Pursel with expenses incurred after he suffered serious injuries in a fall at work.
The Batavia-based team of Jeremy Vallance, Eric Kraus, Jerry Harding, Tom Baker placed first with a 3,398 no-tap with handicap score.
-- The final two qualifying squads of the 41st annual Mount Morris Pepsi Open scratch singles tournament will take place on Feb. 10 since they were cancelled last Sunday due to a winter storm.
Squad times are 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., with the entry fee at $70. A last chance one-game squad for bowlers who didn’t make a squad cut is set for 4 p.m., prior to the eliminator finals.
To enter, call Mount Morris Lanes at 585-658-2540.
-- The next 60-and-Over scratch singles tour event is scheduled for this Sunday at Parkview Bowl in Rochester with squads at 10 a.m. (sold out) and 12:30 p.m.
To see if openings remain on the second squad, contact Kevin Martin at 355-7590.