August 03, 2001:
PWBA Touring Players Vote To Sidestep 2001 BPAA U.S. Open
08/03/2001 - PWBA
ROCKFORD, Ill. - Following extensive negotiations with the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America ("BPAA") on the prize structure of and broadcast time allocations for the 2001 BPAA U.S. Open, the touring players of the Professional Women's Bowling Association ("PWBA") have voted to not participate in the event, scheduled to be held December 1-9 at Fountain Bowl in Fountain Valley, California.
Bowling's U.S. Open, which is conducted by the BPAA, has been staged as a co-ed event the past three years, with an equal distribution of the prize fund contributed by then-presenting sponsor AMF Bowling Inc. and with equal television for women and men. AMF Bowling's involvement with the U.S. Open ended with the 2000 Bowling's U.S. Open.
Earlier this year, the PWBA was informed by the BPAA that it was entering into a licensing agreement with the Professional Bowlers Association ("PBA") for the U.S. Open that would guarantee the men a purse of $350,000 and all 90 minutes of television coverage allocated for the event, while the women's share for participating at the same venue and with the same competitive format would come to $187,500 or less with no television coverage. The U.S. Open is considered the most prestigious national championship for amateur and professional female and male bowlers in the country, and all competitors regardless of gender should be treated equally in terms of television exposure, prize funds and on-site amenities. Despite numerous attempts over the past several weeks to sway BPAA officials to this position, the inequity remains and the 2001 U.S. Open will be conducted within the above-stated parameters.
Therefore, guided by the principle that in any co-ed sports competition, female and male athletes should be treated equally with regard to purses or prize money, television coverage, and the provision of on-site amenities, 49 touring members of the PWBA, including the top 20 ranked players for 2001, agreed to adopt the above-stated principle of competition as a provision of the PWBA Tour Code of Ethics and for membership, and have pledged not to participate in any co-ed tournament that does not offer equal prize money*, television time and on-site amenities to female and male bowlers (*tournaments in which prize money is wholly determined based on entry fees alone to be excluded). (See list below)
"PWBA members are very disappointed by this development in one of our major championships," said Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, president of the PWBA Players' Association and the top-ranked woman on the 2001 PWBA Tour. "We appreciate the BPAA's hosting it, and we enjoy competing in it on the same lanes and under the same format as the men. However, we believe that such a prestigious event should reflect the principle of equal treatment of female and male athletes. The PWBA would never have suggested to the BPAA that women receive twice the purse of the men for this event, and the PBA would never have permitted that to happen. The PWBA cannot and will not accept unequal prize purses and television coverage. We say this not only as professional women bowlers, but as potential role models for the next generation of women who want to pursue careers as professional athletes."
Billie Jean King, founder and chair of the Board of Trustees of the Women's Sports Foundation, noted in support of the PWBA players' decision that "It is so important for athletes and administrators to be leaders. Doing the right thing starts with saying the right thing and standing on principle. There are still men and women's championship events all over the world that are stuck in the Dark Ages. What's the big deal about valuing men and women, and male and female athletes, equally? It's time for all of us to embrace gender equity in sport.
"I think it's great that the [PWBA] women are united. It's important to speak with one voice and they are doing that by standing up as a group and saying very clearly, 'It's time for equality in our sport.' They are accepting responsibility for their destiny by taking this step to be a positive force not only for the sport, but for all women athletes of this generation and the next."
"The Women's Sports Foundation applauds the position of the PWBA Tour players and the PWBA Players' Association, and the fact that they have eloquently stated a principle which should be adopted by all amateur and professional sports associations and event hosts: "In any co-ed sports event, men and women should be treated equally," said Julie Foudy, president of the Women's Sports Foundation. "The Foundation will ask all its members to join with members of the Women's International Bowling Congress in contributing $1 for the proposed "Women's U.S. Open Bowling Championship" as a statement of support. We urge others in sport to consider doing the same."
"I can express only admiration for our professional women bowlers. This was a very difficult decision for them; they pursued every avenue of negotiation before taking this position, and we stand beside them for taking it," said John Falzone, President, Professional Women's Bowling Association. "There is simply no reason for any sports entity conducting a co-ed event to treat women and men differently."
"I just hope that the American public knows that not all members of the BPAA agree with the position of the leadership of the BPAA. Female bowlers are our consumers, and are just as important as male bowlers," said Matt Shellabarger, proprietor, St. Clair Bowl, Fairview Heights, Illinois, and BPAA member. "We don't want to send the message to women that they are not equally valued."
"I thought the issue of equality in the U.S. Open was resolved five years ago during the U.S. Open in Indianapolis, when BPAA officials agreed that purses would be equal in the future. As a proprietor who places the value of female bowlers equal to that of male bowlers, I had hoped we wouldn't face this issue again," Rick Braden, proprietor, Terre Haute Bowling Center, Terre Haute, Indiana and BPAA member. "Fifty percent of all bowlers are women, and our industry needs to respect them as bowlers and individuals."
"As a sponsor of the Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour, WIBC can relate to the difficult decision the players had to make. Inequality between women's and men's sports prize funds and television coverage, regardless of who creates it or allows it to happen, is not unusual. But that does not make it acceptable," Joyce Deitch, President, Women's International Bowling Congress. "Hopefully, in the long run, something positive will result in the players' solidarity on this issue; not only for women in bowling, but in other sports as well."
The PWBA Players' Association is exploring additional avenues of funding and staging the proposed Women's U.S. Open Bowling Championship.
How to donate to the Women's U.S. Open Bowling Championship & PWBA Championship Fund:
Donations of $1.00 or more via check should be made out to: PWBA Championship Fund and sent to:
PWBA Championship Fund
7171 Cherryvale Boulevard
Rockford IL 61112
Or via the official web site of the PWBA, http://www.pwba.com/.
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PWBA Players' July 21, 2001 Statement Regarding Participation In The 2001 BPAA U.S. Open
We, the members of the PWBA and the PWBA Tour, pledge not to participate in any co-ed tournament that does not offer equal prize money* and television time. I understand that doing so (playing in such an event) will result in a violation of the PWBA Tour Code of Ethics and the individual will be denied membership in PWBA and entry into PWBA Tour events.
*Tournaments in which prize money is wholly determined based on entry fees alone are excluded.
(signed by the following players, in alphabetical order)
Laura Lee Daniel
Anne Marie Duggan
Jan A. Schmidt
Clabber Girl Greater Terre Haute Open, Terre Haute, Indiana, July 21, 2001
PWBA's Chronology Of Events:
This chronology of events was forwarded by several PWBA members.
|February, 2001||In order to provide information to the Women's Sports Foundation, for the purpose of compiling facts to promote companies and individuals providing equality for women in sports, the PWBA contacted the BPAA to confirm the situation for the 2001 U.S. Open. The BPAA committed verbally to equal prize funds and television for the 2001 U.S. Open.|
|March, 2001||The BPAA advised the PWBA that the PBA wanted to put additional money into the men's portion of the purse to equalize that purse with their other major tournaments. The PWBA expressed concern over the inequality this would create in bowling's most prestigious national championship.|
April, 2001||Both the PBA and the BPAA informed the PWBA that it looked like the PBA would, in fact, be adding additional money to the men's purse. PWBA again expressed concern and asked if the BPAA could find another way to supplement the women's purse.|
April, 2001||The BPAA President was asked during a breakfast meeting hosted by the BPAA about the possible inequality between men's and women's U.S. Open prize funds and he responded there might be an adjustment based on number of entries.|
May, 2001||The BPAA advised the PWBA that it looked like the men's purse would be $350,000 and women's purse would be $187,500, but further advised that it wasn't a done deal yet.|
May, 2001||The BPAA again advised the PWBA that it appeared there was no way to stop the PBA from adding to the men's prize fund. The PWBA inquired if the purses could be posted as equal and the PBA could announce that it was adding a bonus to its members participating in the event.|
June, 2001||The BPAA advised PWBA that they had been unable to secure a substantial sponsor and the PBA had come to them with an offer that they were considering. The BPAA advised PWBA that they would license the rights to the men's U.S. Open to the PBA and the agreement would have a provision whereby the PBA would pay the entire men's purse, the amount of which would be $350,000. The agreement also specified that the PBA would pay for the cost of the 90-minute U.S. Open telecast on ESPN including production expenses. In exchange for this financial commitment, the PBA would receive the entire 90 minutes of television time for coverage of the men's U.S. Open competition. The BPAA advised the PWBA that they would provide the $187,500 purse for the women's U.S. Open competition but that the PWBA would need to obtain and purchase television time and pay for television production for the women's U.S. Open event. Further, the BPAA informed the PWBA that if the PWBA did obtain the television time but was unable to cover the costs of time and production, that the money for these expenses would be subtracted from the women's purse. The other option given was for the women to bowl along side the men for the $187,500 women's purse (men's purse still at $350,000) with no television coverage of the women's event. The PWBA asked the BPAA to consider the option of moving the women's portion of the U.S. Open to a venue already on the PWBA schedule with an established airdate and paid television production. The BPAA's response was that they would lose some local sponsorship, approximately $50,000, if the women didn't bowl with the men and that such sponsor revenue loses would be subtracted from the women's purse if a separate site event was conducted. The PWBA asked the BPAA not accept the PBA's offer as a matter of principle. The BPAA responded that, although they were sorry about the inequity, this was a financial deal they had to accept.|
June, 2001||The PWBA contacted ESPN to attempt to secure television time for the women's US Open. ESPN responded that they would take a look at this possibility.|
June, 2001||The BPAA board approved moving forward with a partnership with the PBA, allowing its CEO to negotiate with the PBA for the rights to the men's U.S. Open.|
June, 2001||The PWBA spoke with the leadership of the Women's Sports Foundation (WSF) and the Women's International Bowling Congress (WIBC), requesting guidance on this issue. A suggestion was made to develop a confidential draft position paper detailing the situation, the principles involved and options for action to be discussed with the top five professional female bowlers. |
June, 2001||A draft statement of the situation was prepared and the PWBA officers met via conference call with the top 10 professional female bowlers and WSF and WIBC representatives to discuss possible options.|
June, 2001||The conference call resulted in a recommendation for the PWBA to detail all of the above conversations and to forward this chronology of events to the BPAA, requesting that the BPAA clarify and confirm the BPAA U.S. Open position in writing, on the matters of men's and women's purses, television exposure and other hosting considerations. The WIBC thought there might be an opportunity to ask for donations from their members to attempt to provide equality in the U.S. Open.|
July 3, 2001||All conversations were documented to the best of the PWBA's ability and forwarded to the BPAA via e-mail and FedEx requesting them to confirm their position by July 9, 2001.|
July 5, 2001||The BPAA called the PWBA office to talk with someone about the July 3 document. Everyone was traveling. PWBA returned the call on July 6, but BPAA wasn't available. On July 7, BPAA reached a PWBA representative at home.|
|July 7, 2001||The BPAA strongly expressed their position that female bowlers should be looking at what the BPAA is doing for them instead of what they are not. The BPAA stated that if the BPAA does not accept the PBA's offer, there would likely be no U.S. Open because of lack of dollars. The PWBA reminded the BPAA that, at the BPAA's request, the PWBA urged ESPN to negotiate with BPAA last year to provide television with favorable terms for the 2000 U.S. Open. When ESPN complied and drew up a contract, the BPAA backed out to give the rights to Fox as a part of a PBA deal, which resulted in Fox not airing the start of the telecast (most of the women's competition) in several major markets. This created an embarrassing situation for PWBA with ESPN. It was during this conversation that the BPAA advised the PWBA that the PBA had also requested the rights to the women's U.S. Open as well as the youth and seniors U.S. Open. BPAA stated that they were negotiating giving those rights to the PBA but there would be protections built in to secure a minimum women's purse of $187,500 plus television for the women in future years, but not in 2001. The BPAA also reminded PWBA on this call that they were buying $60,000 worth of commercials on PWBA telecasts. The PWBA stated again that they didn't believe it was right for the women to bowl at the same venue for nearly 1/2 the purse and no television coverage. The BPAA discussed conducting the men's and women's competitions at separate venues but decided that to run and promote two separate events would cost them as much or maybe more. At the end of the conversation the BPAA indicated that they could absorb possibly 50% to 75% of the television cost but they could not take on the full responsibility. The BPAA indicated they did not have time to put any of this in writing, but requested a conference call with a few of the PWBA athletes.|
July 9, 2001||The PWBA recapped the July 7 BPAA/PWBA telephone call in writing and distributed the summary to PWBA athletes and WIBC and WSF representatives.|
July 13, 2001||A conference call with the BPAA, 5 professional female bowlers, PWBA officers and the WIBC was scheduled for July 15th.|
July 15, 2001||Conference call took place. Most of the same questions were asked and answered as recapped in the July 7 call with PWBA. The BPAA gave their financial position and indicated that they could not afford to reject the PBA offer. The BPAA stated that their board required their losses be kept to under $100,000. The BPAA stated that they would try to get the PBA to agree to air the women's championship match or highlights of that match on the U.S. Open telecast. The BPAA indicated they were still waiting to hear from the PBA on the cost to use the television production equipment already in place for a second show on the women's competition and were still waiting to hear from the PWBA on the cost of airtime. The BPAA also stated that some or all of the TV cost for the women might still have to come out of the women's purse. The BPAA stated that the PWBA could look for a title sponsor for the women's competition. The PWBA asked, hypothetically, if the BPAA obtained a sponsor for the U.S. Open (other than the PBA) that indicated that they wanted the biggest portion of their sponsorship fee to go to the men's competition, would the BPAA allow the sponsor to dictate how their funds were to be spent? The BPAA responded, "Probably not." The PWBA clearly stated that they did not want the rights to the women's U.S. Open going to the PBA for future years and wanted BPAA to negotiate with PWBA, WIBC, the Players' Association or any combination of the three. At the end of the call, the PWBA informed the BPAA that the PWBA and WSF and WIBC representatives would be meeting with the female professional bowlers and that the athletes would be making a decision about participating in the 2001 U.S. Open.|
July 20, 2001||The BPAA called the PWBA to report that the BPAA met with PBA and advised them that the PBA may not be able to have the rights to the women's U.S. Open in the future and that they would negotiate such rights with the PWBA.|
July 21, 2001||A meeting took place in Terre Haute, IN with 41 professional female bowlers attending. Also attending were Jan Schmidt and John Falzone of the PWBA, Elaine Hagin, Vice President of the WIBC, Donna Lopiano, Executive Direction of the WSF and, via phone, Billie Jean King, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the WSF. The athletes discussed the situation, including the possibility of owning their own U.S. Open. Three options were discussed:|
Option 1: Do not participate in the 2001 coed U.S. Open hosted by the BPAA; conduct a Women's U.S. Open at a separate venue.
PROS- positive public relations stemming from stance on equity principle
- 90 minutes of television coverage vs. 45 minutes last year
- estimated purse of at least $200,000 raised by entry fees and WIBC contributions
CONS- may not be able to raise the full $200,000
Option 2: Accept current situation: women's purse $187,500 or less/ no television coverage
PROS- guaranteed purse of approximately $150,000
CONS- accept unequal status/ no television coverage
Option 3: Don't pull out yet, attempt to raise money to equalize purse and buy television
PROS- guaranteed purse $150,000/ combined women's and men's event
CONS- risk unequal purse
- risk no TV
- bowlers enter the event without knowing the purse or television status
All options were considered. No one expressed interest in option 2. The top 10 athletes, the past U.S. Open Champions and others all spoke individually about their respective choices. A total of 19 people spoke. Seven were leaning toward option 3 but were torn between 3 and 1 and 12 definitely wanted option 1. The seven that were torn said they would go with the group if they chose option 1. The group then decided to adopt an equity principle and sign the following agreement:
"We, the members of the PWBA and the PWBA Tour pledge not to participate in any coed tournament that does not offer equal prize money* and television time. I understand that doing so (playing in such an event) will result in a violation of the PWBA Tour Code of Ethics and the individual will be denied membership in PWBA and entry into PWBA Tour events.
*Tournaments in which prize money is wholly determined based on entry fees alone are excluded."
Forty-one professional female bowlers in attendance signed the above agreement during that meeting and an additional eight signed during the following week for a total of 49 players. Only one bowler that was present did not sign and she is not among the top 20 ranked bowlers. The meeting ended with players directing the PWBA to: (1) advise the BPAA of the players' agreement, (2) seek ownership of the rights to the Women's U.S. Open or similarly named national championship for amateur and professional female bowlers.
July 23, 2001||The PWBA started a search for trademarks for "Bowling's U.S. Open" or the "Women's U.S. Open Bowling Championship" and applied for a trademark for "Women's U.S. Open Bowling Championship."|
July 23, 2001||The PWBA advised the BPAA that the women professional bowlers agreed that they would not participate in any coed event that does not have equal prize funds or equal television time. The BPAA responded that they would run the U.S. Open as a coed event and that female bowlers other than the PWBA bowlers would win the event. The PWBA advised the BPAA that PWBA players were not willing to participate in the 2001 event as currently constructed ($187,000 women's purse and no television coverage). The BPAA then stated that they might not run a women's event. The BPAA also argued that there should be an acceptable difference in prize funds based on number of entries. The BPAA calculated the purse difference based on the anticipated ratio of men to women instead of on the actual difference in dollars generated from men's and women's entries. The PWBA asked whether the BPAA would consider transferring ownership of the women's U.S. Open to the PWBA. The BPAA responded that they will continue to own the event but would consider licensing the rights to PWBA, the Players' Association, the WIBC or any combination of the three. The BPAA further stated that they would want safeguards in the agreement that the women's competition would be guaranteed a prize fund of no less than $187,500 and would have television coverage. If those minimums were not met, the rights would revert back to BPAA and a penalty would be assessed. The PWBA advised the BPAA that the athletes would be attempting to raise the money for equal prize funds. At first, the BPAA argued that such additional moneys should go toward their bottom line, but then agreed that once television was covered, the balance could be added to the purse. The BPAA stated that they are accountable for TV and that the PWBA needed to state rock solidly that they could provide television for the women's competition. The PWBA stated that they felt they could secure the airtime, but didn't know the exact cost of such time. BPAA stated that in fairness to the host proprietor, the sponsors and the fans, they needed a commitment now from the ladies to bowl the event. The BPAA committed to the following:
- The BPAA will guarantee the prize fund at a minimum of $187,500 regardless of entries.
- There will be a separate television show for the women's U.S. Open.
- Additional dollars generated by the PWBA, the PWBA Players' Association, the WIBC, the WSF or other sponsors and contributors secured by PWBA can be added to the women's purse.
- The BPAA will help promote the effort to get to equal money. They will release the men's prize fund at $350,000 and announce programs are ongoing to enhance the women's purse to attempt to equalize prize funds.
- The BPAA will talk with the PWBA, the PWBA Players' Association and/or the WIBC about a licensing agreement for future women's U.S. Opens.
The call ended with the PWBA advising the BPAA that they would meet with the athletes on July 25th to discuss the above BPAA position.
July 24, 2001||The above call was documented in detail by PWBA and forwarded to the women professional bowlers and the WIBC and WSF representatives.|
July 25, 2001||The PWBA had another conference call with BPAA just prior to meeting with the athletes at which time BPAA changed their position on television and reconfirmed earlier statements that their bottom line loss could be no more than $100,000. The BPAA stated that if their losses came in at less than $100,000, the difference could go to television, but the balance of the television costs, if not covered by someone else, would still come out of the $187,500 women's competition prize fund. The BPAA also advised the PWBA that they had a copy of a so-called petition signed by PWBA members.|
July 25, 2001||The PWBA received a complete listing of registered trademarks. The only marks BPAA has registered are the "BPAA" and "Bowl Expo".|
July 25, 2001||The PWBA met with the athletes. In fairness to the host proprietor and sponsors, the athletes agreed that waiting and possibly pulling out at the last minute would not be good for anyone so they had to either accept the BPAA's position and hope to raise enough or back out now. During this meeting an e-mail came in to the PWBA's Media Director from the BPAA requesting a copy of the so-called "players' petition" that the BPAA already stated they had. The athletes felt that the BPAA had not moved at all on their original position. They voted on the following options:|
Option 1a. Amend their prior contract regarding equal prize funds to allow them to commit now to bowl in the 2001 U.S. Open.
b. Agree to commit to bowl in the 2001 U.S. Open provided the BPAA puts in writing, (1) a guarantee of $187,500 prize fund for women regardless of entries,
(2) equal television time and quality of television coverage, and (3) BPAA would allow the women to add any money raised to the women's prize fund.
Option 2a. Require BPAA to commit in writing to guarantee a women's purse of $350,000 or a purse equal to the men and equal television time and quality.
b. If BPAA commits to Option 2a, the women will commit to bowl and will continue to attempt to raise money to recover part or all of BPAA's losses.
c. If BPAA does not commit to 2a, the women will announce that they will not bowl the 2001 U.S. Open as soon as a press conference can be scheduled.
The women decided on option 2. All but three women in the room wanted option 2 and the three that wanted option 1 agreed to stand behind the others with option 2. The meeting ended agreeing that PWBA would go back to BPAA and advise them of the athlete's decision.
July 26, 2001||The PWBA presented the BPAA with the athletes' decision in person. The BPAA was visibly upset and stated that they would run a women's U.S. Open anyway.|
July 27, 2001||The PWBA had a conference call with WSF to discuss next steps. WSF gave some advice on cost and options for a press conference. The PWBA provided the WSF with this chronological listing of events so the WSF could assist with the development of formal press statements, athlete statements and a Q&A.|
July 30, 2001||Bowlers' Journal called PWBA inquiring about rumors regarding the U.S. Open. PWBA stated they could not comment at that time. Bowlers' Journal called later that day, stating that they had the story from the BPAA and would run with it as is, or PWBA could give their side. PWBA answered questions for the Bowlers' Journal story.|
July 30, 2001||After being advised by an industry manufacturer that the proprietor of the host center was aware of the U.S. Open issues, PWBA called that proprietor on behalf of the ladies to advise him of the athletes' position (the ladies expressed concern in a previous meeting that this proprietor understand how and why they reached their decision).|
July 31, 2001||WSF responded with suggestions for formal press statements. BPAA provided their position in writing to the Players' Association and copied the PWBA as well as WIBC, ABC, Bowling Inc. Board, BPAA Board, BPAA Tournament Committee and Mubig. BPAA's position in writing is that they never guaranteed "equal" prize money under any and all circumstances but committed that they would guarantee the same amount of $187,500 in prize money to both women and men. BPAA further stated that the options for PWBA are the same as the options for PBA and that means equality. PWBA wrote corrections to BPAA's written position based on their understanding as follows: BPAA states that PWBA leaders told them that "BPAA should not allow the PBA to increase prize money -- it is BPAA's event and they can do what they'd like to do." We agree this was stated, but it was later requested by PWBA that if there was no other solution, that BPAA post the prize funds as equal at $187,500 and that they post a bonus by PBA to its members, allowing the BPAA to still appear to be providing equality and the female athletes to be presented as equal in the eye of the public. BPAA stated that was one possible option. BPAA states that the PWBA has always had the same options available to them as the PBA. The PWBA has been told by BPAA since last year's U.S. Open that if the events were combined, they would use the men's television time-slot and air the women's and men's finals during that time. The PWBA has further been told by BPAA since last year's event that they would be securing at least 2 hours of broadcast time so they could televise the U.S. Open the way it should be done without cutting corners to fit the women and men in. It wasn't until June that the PWBA was advised that the women would not be a part of the television. BPAA selected a time for the U.S. Open to fit into the men's television schedule and the PBA was able to plan that as part of their schedule. The PWBA has no television time in December, nor did it budget or anticipate this change by BPAA so they do not agree that this is equal opportunity. In an effort to resolve this situation, the PWBA offered to attempt to move the women's portion to a date and venue that already had television secured and budgeted. BPAA advised that if they did this, they would lose approximately $50,000 in local sponsorship dollars and that money would have to come out of the women's $187,500. It is further stated by BPAA that the women had the same two options as the men as follows: PBA options: #1 -- To utilize the BPAA prize fund guarantee of $187,500, allow BPAA to select the venue, manage the event, etc. and for the PBA to provide television for the event. No mention is made here of who was paying production. BPAA stated to PWBA in an earlier conversation that the PBA wanted to raise the production level for this event to as high as $125,000 and BPAA couldn't afford that. This indicated that BPAA planned to pay the production costs, as PWBA understands they have done the previous few years. PWBA's equal option #1 is stated as BPAA to provide its guarantee of $187,500 of prize money for women for the U.S. Open, for BPAA to provide all of the event management costs and for the PWBA to take on television responsibilities, potentially offset in part by the BPAA to the extent they can manage their deficit to an acceptable level. PWBA was clearly told that they wanted PWBA to take on the responsibility of providing the air-time (which at this late date, could not be built into their contract and may require a purchase), plus all production costs. In option #2 -- both the PBA and the PWBA have been offered the right to license their respective U.S. Opens (male/female), taking over all funding responsibilities for prize funds, television and most event management. There is no mention in here of the center contribution of $35,000. BPAA had advised PWBA and some of its members that the $35,000 would primarily go to the PBA. Also, in this option, the PWBA has the same problem of the event time and location being built around the PBA's television schedule to allow it to be one of PBA's contracted and budgeted events with ESPN. PWBA is working with its athletes to represent them, but feels approximately half of the field are amateurs that do not belong to the PWBA or the PBA and as such, this is not a PWBA/PBA issue. It is a female/male issue and women amateurs will bowl for significantly less prize money with no television for no other reason but gender. The PBA chose to raise the bar for all male competitors in the 2001 U.S. Open and the BPAA lowered the bar for all female competitors in the 2001 U.S. Open by not providing television for their event. The BPAA emphasized the point that they have long supported the PWBA and believe in the importance of a women's professional tour and that their commitment of $60,000 in television commercial support at their spring board of directors meeting should be seen as evidence to that. PWBA appreciates that commercial buy but would like to reference that a commercial buy has been promised from BPAA for two years and only two commercial were purchased last year. In addition Strike Ten Entertainment advised the PWBA that they were buying ½ (or $30,000) of that $60,000 commitment. PWBA believes that the association for proprietors of the venues in bowling should believe in the importance of professional bowling and as such, should show their belief in that importance by airing commercials on their telecasts. PWBA further believes that these commercial buys have nothing to do with the equality for women and men in the coed bowling U.S. Open, just as the fact that PWBA produced and aired on its telecasts, at no charge to BPAA, commercials supporting BPAA membership over the last 3 years and provided air-time and production, at no cost to BPAA, for the women's U.S. Open (when it was a separate event) for 16 years has nothing to do with equality for the coed 2001 U.S. Open.|
PWBA talked with WSF to further discuss how to approach the issue of getting the word out. WSF suggested discussing this with a PR firm, which PWBA did. PWBA is weighing the options of an exclusive story, a scaled down press conference or a full-blown press conference with high-profile athletes. WSF is getting quotes from high-profile athletes to be a part of PWBA's press release.
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