Volume 1, Issue 25
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez
Last week, I compared the differences in the PWBA and PBA telecasts both airing on ESPN. This week, I figured I would take a look at the sponsorship deals that each tour is securing, since the adage "money makes the world go 'round" is pretty true. When it comes to offering a prize fund, a bowling tour needs sponsors to sweeten the pot. And bowling is way behind every major (and minor) sport in that regard.
One area where the women's tour has gotten a jump start on the PBA is with their prize fund. In recent weeks, the PWBA titleists actually won more money than their PBA counterparts when comparing tournaments. Strike Ten Entertainment has landed some major sponsors for the women's tour, and two of them are naturals. The first sponsor seems like such a natural that I can't believe that they weren't approached before: the PWBA has landed No Nonsense as a sponsor.
Considering that nylons are part of the PWBA "uniform," it seems only right that there should be a cross-sponsorship deal. While I don't believe there is a No Nonsense Open in the works, the company is adding money to the prize funds and handing out product samples at various stops. No Nonsense makes more than just nylons; they also market other brand lines of socks.
Earlier when the women's tour was in Pennsylvania, there was a one-stop promotion with Hershey's, and I saw one with Crayola that had serious potential. It's nice to see products that everyone buys that don't necessarily relate to bowlers only. I'd love to see more of this. I think this type of outside promotion will only strengthen the tours. We all buy cars, houses, and everyday items, why not Ford, Century 21, and Home Depot?
The PBA has brought back "Dexters Footwork of the Pros," and although I love the segment, I'm wondering what is the criteria to be "footwork worthy"? Either there are many more Dexters wearers than Linds lovers on the PBA Tour, or the segment is highlighting more Dexters wearers. It's not a big deal, but if love is blind (my love for the sport is anyway), I'd like to see each pro highlighted, not just one shoe company's athletes. The PBA has also landed the makers of the herbal product Ginkoba for the "Ginkoba Moment of Concentration." As long as they pay the PBA it's ok, but their commercials leave bowling open to more jokes.
Another new sponsor on the PWBA side is MasterCard, which is offering a $50,000 bonus for any 300 shot on a PWBA telecast. This is a certainly less than the $1,000,000 Showboat Hotel and Casino bonus (that gets zero publicity) for a 300 bowled in the title match on the men's tour, but at least every bowler on the PWBA telecast is eligible for the $50,000. Now if we could only get the PWBA announcers not to start mentioning it when a bowler opens with the first four strikes!
On the men's side, it's been a case of "double your pleasure, double your fun." Last week the PBA announced ACDelco will sponsor a fall event in addition to the spring/summer event they sponsor in California every year. The ACDelco event was the richest tour stop of the swing earlier this year, so another stop sponsored by the car parts supplier is welcome. And National Finance Corporation picked up a second event that ran last week in Indianapolis, in addition to the stop in Virginia Beach.
Perhaps the funniest thing to come out of all these sponsorships are the resulting prize funds. The PWBA place money is edging ahead of the PBA step ladder final. If Del and Carolyn Dorin-Ballard win titles, Carolyn is going to be wearing the pants. The only bad news for the PWBA on that front is that Strike Ten is slowly distancing itself from the women's tour to concentrate on other areas. Hopefully though, with the progress made, other partnerships can be forged with new sponsors.
And before I forget, for the young and young at heart, the Brunswick Circuit Pro Bowling video game commercials are airing on both shows, after the sponsoring the PBA Tour stop in Wichita. Both tours are breaking new ground, and yet have a ways to go before bowling pay checks rival that of other sports. In the meantime, let's be thankful for the new sponsors, and keep looking for new ones.