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top news - the top bowling news of the day.March of 2000

    -Barbie Goes Bowling

    3/23/2000 - Mattel
          What do you get when you combine America's favorite fashion doll with one of America's favorite sports? Bowling Champtm Barbie®. Bowling has become one of the most played sports in the U.S. An average of 55 million people bowl each year and it is considered one of the top participation sports. It is no wonder that Barbie doll has pulled her blonde hair back, tied on her bowling shoes and shined up her ball.

          The Women's International Bowling Congress and American Bowling Congress will sell Bowling Champ Barbie dolls for a limited time before rolling into toy stores. Barbie is available at the WIBC Championship Tournament in Reno, Nevada, at the ABC/Sandia Casino Tournament in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and on the Internet at http://www.bowl.com. A special emblem that collectors and bowling enthusiasts can wear or display will be given away with each doll sold through WIBC and ABC.

          "We are very excited about introducing Bowling Champ Barbie," said Jill Nordquist, Barbie Marketing. "It is the first time that Barbie has been featured as a bowler, participating in one of America's favorite pastimes."


    -PBA Purchased by High-Tech Entrepreneurs

    3/22/2000 - PBA Tour
          The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) board of directors announced earlier this week that the league will be sold to an investment group of entrepreneurs from the high technology industry.

          A trio of high-tech experts, former Microsoft Vice President Chris Peters; past president of Paul Allen's Starwave venture Mike Slade; and Rob Glaser, currently chairman and CEO of RealNetworks, have agreed to purchase the PBA and, pending member agreement, will be the sole owners of the professional sports league.

          The goal of the investment group is to make bowling into one of the first sports to utilize the power of the Internet and to webcast its tournaments. "Our mission going forward will be `To Entertain the Mass Audience with the Sport of Bowling.' The Internet is probably the most exciting mass audience channel in history," offered Peters.

          The new owners will create an office in Seattle that will house the marketing, sponsorship sales, and Internet efforts, while the operations currently based in Akron, will remain there indefinitely. Chris Peters will act as chairman and is actively recruiting a president to run the new business areas and day-to-day operations. Mark Gerberich, the sport's commissioner, will continue in his current position.

          Watch a replay of the press statement made this morning at RealNetworks® in Seattle, with Chris Peters, Rob Glaser, Mike Slade, Mark Gerberich, Chris Barnes, and Dick Weber here:
          For more information, please visit http://www.pbatour.com/selnews.asp?ID=464

    Related Stories by Other News Sources:
          Red Herring - Bowling is Big Biz
          New York Times - Dollars for Bowling: Internet Millionaires Buy Professional Tour
          CNNfn - High-tech execs spare PBA
          Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Big tech investors roll down memory lanes


    -Bowling in the Olympics - Your Vote Counts!

    3/20/2000 by Steve Mermelstein
          The United States Olympic Committee has recently put a link to a poll on the front page their site, asking visitors which non-Olympic sport would like to see added to the Summer Olympic games. The five choices are bowling, racquetball, roller skating, squash racquets, and water skiing.

          It is very important that you cast your vote for this poll now at:
    http://vr.harrispollonline.com/voting/default.asp?CampaignID=49.

    Please let as many bowlers know about this poll as possible!


    -Feedback Being Gathered from ABC/WIBC Sport Bowling Test Leagues

    3/20/2000 - Bowling Headquarters
          At the heart of the System of Bowling is the question of what is "sport challenge" versus the recreational game of bowling? The American Bowling Congress and Women's International Bowling Congress are providing bowlers who want a challenge an avenue to test their skills. In an effort to place more emphasis on shot-making skills, ABC and WIBC have jointly implemented "Sport Bowling" test leagues throughout the United States.

          By controlling lane conditions and equipment, the objective is to test and analyze bowlers' scoring. ABC and WIBC are gathering data from the more than 700 bowlers in 15 Sport Bowling test leagues across the United States.

          "Competition for the high-average bowler has been criticized, fairly or unfairly, as having become too easy," said ABC/WIBC Equipment Specifications Committee Co-Chairman Paul Egbers. "The Sport level has been created as a means to reinforce the credibility of the game and put the level of success into the hands of the bowler, rather than the manufacturer or the lane maintenance person."

          The testing will be conducted in three phases and eventually include tournaments. The current league testing, Phase 1, utilizes lane conditions ranging from moderate to difficult but has no bowling ball restrictions. Phase 2 will run May 1-Aug. 1 and will include revised lane dressing patterns and possible equipment restrictions. Phase 3 will run during the fall season (starting Aug. 1). The goal is to have 50 leagues operating for this test segment, which will have a revised set of lane dressing and further equipment restrictions.

          "It's time to separate the sport from the recreational game," said ABC Executive Director Roger Dalkin. "We can develop a game for the recreational player, and we also can find room for a sport level for members who want that."

          "We encourage WIBC members to participate in Sport Bowling," said WIBC Executive Director Roseann Kuhn. "Sport Bowling is not just for high average bowlers. WIBC and ABC want to expand Sport Bowling participation to other average bowlers and YABA members who want a new challenge."

          More information can be found at: http://www.bowl.com/bowl/abc/common/news/record.html?record=1798


    -Aggressive Campaign of Tests and Sport Level Competition Spelled out

    3/3/2000 - Bowling Headquarters
          The American Bowling Congress and Women's International Bowling Congress are moving forward with major plan to overhaul the system of Bowling, the interaction of components that control the sport's scoring.

          The groups are pursuing an aggressive campaign that includes equipment research, implementation of a "sport level" of competition and educating association leaders, convention delegates, media and the general membership about why the program is important.

          The campaign was kicked off a lively and informative "Open House" Feb. 23 at the ABC/WIBC Specifications and certification Facility at Bowling Headquarters in Greendale, Wis. It was co-hosted by ABC Executive Director Roger Dalkin and WIBC Executive Director Roseann Kuhn.

          Several prominent members of the bowling media, bowling equipment manufacturers and ABC and WIBC officials attended the four-hour presentation, which involves the relationship of the four components that affect scoring - lane surfaces, bowling balls, pins, and lane dressing.

          Included was an overview and tour of the facility and its function, discussions and demonstrations of pin approval, lane surfaces, bowling ball specifications, testing and future research, lane dressing and application and a question and answer session.

          Attendees also heard a report about the progress of the revolutionary new "Sport Bowling" level of competition, a series of leagues and tournaments designed to place more emphasis on shot-making skills by controlling lane conditions and equipment. ABC and WIBC are gathering data from more than 700 bowlers competing in 15 test leagues across the United States.

          Plans are to follow up with similar presentations at the ABC Convention and WIBC Annual Meeting.

          "The system of Bowling is important to the average ABC and WIBC member because it re-establishes ABC and WIBC as the custodians of bowling," said Dalkin.

          "It's an important part of our job as governing bodies to manage the standards and specifications of bowling for ABC and WIBC members," said Kuhn.

          The ABC/WIBC Equipment Specifications Committee will ultimately decide how to implement recommendations from a System of Bowling Task Force established in 1996.

    More information can be found at: http://www.bowl.com/bowl/abc/common/news/record.html?record=1696


    -Pete Weber Suspended by PBA Tour
    3/1/2000 - PBA Tour
          Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Hall of Famer Pete Weber has been suspended from PBA tournament competition effective immediately and will not be eligible to compete in PBA events for the remainder of the year.

          Weber, a 37-year-old from St. Ann, Mo., received a conduct fine for "conduct unbecoming a professional" during the PBA Tour event at Bay Lanes in Bay City, Mich., last fall. Weber was already on probation when this incident occurred.

          According to Article VII, Section 4, Paragraph IV, of the PBA's rulebook, "Any conduct offense while on probation will, if the Member is deemed guilty, result in suspension and a possible fine, the length and amount to be determined by the Commissioner."

          PBA Tour Commissioner Mark Gerberich suspended Weber for the incident in Bay City. Weber then appealed the decision of the Commissioner as outlined in the PBA Constitution, but the decision was upheld. Weber still had the right to appeal the decision to the PBA Board of Directors, but decided to drop his right of appeal following the Bayer/Brunswick Touring Players Championship (which concluded Feb. 27) and accept his suspension.

          Therefore, Weber's suspension took effect Feb. 28, 2000, and will run through Dec. 31, 2000. During this time Weber will not be eligible to compete in PBA national, regional or invitational tournaments. Following the nine-month suspension, Weber will remain on probation for a period of 18 months through June 30, 2002.





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