Volume 2, Issue 9, The 61st Edition
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez
In a single press release, not promoted very loudly, the PBA has joined forces with the other acronyms of bowling--ABC, WIBC, YABA, BPAA (the proprietors), USA Bowling, and the PWBA, among others--and become a member of Bowling, Inc. The $1,000 membership fee recently presented to Bowling, Inc. brings the PBA full circle.
A few years ago, the PBA participated in the formation of Bowling, Inc., yet chose a separate path, including the hiring of the Marquee Group to do their marketing. Given the lackluster performance as witnessed by few commercials sold and the PBA left owing the CBS network a substantial amount of money, the relationship with Marquee apparently ended earlier this year, and the PBA returned to Bowling, Inc. and potentially its marketing arm, known as Strike Ten Entertainment.
Maybe now, there will be a single organization that promotes all bowling, but I won't hold my breath. So far, something as simple as a website can't promote all the major organizations of bowling. Ever since the launch of Bowl.com, the powers-that-be at Bowling, Inc. have called it a one-stop shop for bowlers everywhere. Visit that site, and you'll see nice things for sale, bowling games, information on the amateur aspects of bowling, but even on their links page, you will find two major organizations missing: the PBA and the PWBA.
I've always figured it was pretty odd. To a bowler reading only that site, the two professional organizations apparently wouldn't exist. People looking for information on how to become a pro bowler would ask in the message board section and be given an answer by the webmaster, but why not simply include the links to the sites? I have always assumed since PWBA was a member of Bowling, Inc. but PBA was not, that Bowling, Inc. chose not to mention the PBA. But by not mentioning the PBA, it would be hard to mention the PWBA without making the omission glaringly obvious. And so neither has been mentioned.
Maybe now, the bowling industry can show some unity and promote all aspects of the sport. Certainly every organization has their own agenda, but without working together, the sport will suffer. We have enough trouble with the struggle between the WIBC and the ABC and between both of the sanctioning bodies and the proprietors. With so many governing bodies, it's a miracle we still have a sport. The goal of having one sanctioning body still feels far apart when each organization claims to be ready to unite, but always seems to be more interested in maneuvering for position.
Why is there so much infighting, anyway? Each level needs the others to survive. Bowling is different from most sports, anyway, except maybe Tennis and Golf. Most sports are mainly spectator events, but bowlers avidly participate as well as follow the tours on television and any other medium. It only makes sense that the professional organizations work closely with the amateur bodies in order to increase their numbers in both directions. Professional sports encourage new amateur members by introducing the sport to folks via TV, and some of those amateurs will no doubt go on to become professionals. It's a win-win for all levels.
When all the groups realize that they need each other to survive, and drop the self-serving positioning, maybe they will realize that they all have more things in common than the issues they differ on. And bowlers just want to bowl. During the next season, comes the new millennium, and why not try to get off on the right foot now. Any bowler will tell you that the approach is everything.