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      August 08, 2001:

-Bowling, Inc. Board Of Directors Holds Annual Meeting In Milwaukee

08/08/2001 - Bowling Newsline
      The quarterly business meeting and the annual meeting of the Bowling, Inc. Board was held July 26-27 in Milwaukee. A board retreat and development day was held July 25.

      Participating as an integral part of the meeting were executives from the American Bowling Congress, Bowling Proprietors' Association of America, Women's International Bowling Congress, AMF, Brunswick, USA Bowling, Young American Bowling Alliance, the Multi-Unit Bowling Information Group, Professional Bowlers Association and Professional Women's Bowling Association. The BI Board continued its efforts to forge partnerships with its business partners and industry leaders while striving for unanimity of purpose for the good of the industry. This is the only action forum in the industry bringing the industry leaders together to ensure bowling's growth in the sports/entertainment marketplace through unified leadership and strategic direction.

      Following are the highlights from this meeting:

      #1 Priority - "Increasing Organized Competition": A large portion of the retreat and development day was set aside to conduct an intensive industry planning session. The board unanimously committed that its #1 priority for 2001-02 and beyond is to strongly embrace increasing organized competition in light of decreasing participation in such play over the past several years. It further committed to this effort by directing staff to develop short- and long-range action plans that will: convince industry planning groups and other industry partners to also embrace and fund this priority as an industry shared strategic initiative; support those league lineage and other initiatives already in place; and direct applicable Strike Ten Entertainment programs and promotions to focus on organized competition with the ultimate possibility to include sanctioning. Additionally, new and exciting alternative/modified formats should be cataloged, published and promoted through the execution of tests in selected markets to commence no later than 2002.

      BI Board of the Future: With the potential of a new single membership organization, the Board agreed that it would make good business sense to release its Shared Services staff for potential employment with the new SMO when requested. However, it unanimously agreed that BI would continue to exist outside the structure and authority of the SMO to fulfill its unique role as the industry action forum and think tank for ensuring bowling's growth in the marketplace. BI also will continue to provide centralized marketing services for the entire industry through the oversight of its subsidiary activity Strike Ten Entertainment.

      Olympic Update: Jerry Koenig, Federation International des Quilleurs President and USA Bowling CEO, updated the Board on the complexities of the Olympic movement and structure. Included was the status of various initiatives being undertaken to move the sport of bowling ever closer to Olympic recognition.

      A plan to have a presence at the Winter Games in Salt Lake in 2002 was one of several items discussed. Although industry funding has been set aside for this initiative, of concern was the lack of an immediate action plan for Salt Lake. The Board directed Jack Kelly, BPAA CEO to take the lead on preparing the plan in conjunction with the FIQ President and USA Bowling officials.

      Roundtable Discussions/Industry Updates: In the spirit of striving to live the BI mission of "providing the leadership and strategic direction" for the industry, the Board received updates from each of its industry partners. Senior executives from AMF, ABC, BPAA, Brunswick, MUBIG, PBA, PWBA, USA Bowling, WIBC and YABA each discussed the "state of their business" - both current highlights and future focus. Despite the fact the industry information presented in this forum again proved beneficial it was generally agreed that the industry has much room for improvement in fulfilling one of BI's organizing principles: "an industry - on common ground - that thinks and acts in unison."

      Of particular interest was USA Bowling's announcement that it is collaborating with YABA to consolidate USAB and YABA coaching programs by the end of 2002.

      Strike Ten Entertainment: Frank DeSocio, STE's Chief Marketing Officer, presented a status report on the industry's marketing initiatives. He was very positive about the potential for exciting promotions and programs on the horizon. He pledged to continue to bring corporate sponsors to industry groups that are a good fit.

      Despite optimism and the Board's strong support for STE's recent successes and new direction, STE has taken a 10 percent budget cut from its funding partners in its 2001-02 budget and will continue to operate with a lean budget and small staff. These reductions are a result of across the board cuts in Greendale and Arlington that have impacted overall operations.

      Financial & Operational Reports: The Finance & Planning Committee and the CFO report presented the BI operational budget for 2001-02 that was approved by the Board. This budget includes the BI Board, the Shared Services and the STE operations. It was noted that the budget reflected a savings of approximately $350,000 in core services to the business partners and also across the board "belt tightening" and cutbacks.

      The President/COO reported that Shared Services has experienced a reduction in business over the past two years as all organizations redirect priorities and their limited resources for programs and services. Much of the Shared Services business has been impacted by continuous process improvement, technology innovations and job consolidations which mean fewer positions are needed to meet current workload demands. As a result, there are 16 fewer positions in the 2001-02 budget and employee layoffs of those encumbered positions were effective Aug. 1. The report noted that since the inception in 1994-95 of BI and its Shared Services operation, Bowling HQ staff has been reduced from 272 to 231 employees (even though adding approximately 30 new positions where different skills and talents were needed) while overall processes and services have improved dramatically.

      Discussions also highlighted that ABC, WIBC, YABA and USA Bowling have cutback programs - in some cases significantly - to meet budget, to redirect limited funds where they have the biggest impact on better meeting the needs of their members and to support overall industry initiatives.

      PWBA: At its previous meeting, the Board commissioned a task force to work with the PWBA regarding how the industry could step-up to ensure that the PWBA has a viable future. The Board pledged its continued support of the women's tour and, in particular, thanked WIBC for its strong financial support of PWBA, STE and BPAA for their sponsorship efforts.

      Funding for Industry Marketing: The long-standing subject of an "industry marketing fund" once again surfaced during Board discussions. The Board tasked staff, under the direction of its new Business Development Manager position, to make this a priority. Staff is to report in October with the beginning of a well thought out strategy, plan and proposal based on unanimity of purpose and where funds would be best spent.

      Elections: The Annual Meeting was highlighted with the election of officers for 2001-02. Hazel McLeary (WIBC) was re-elected chairman, Wally Hall (BPAA) was re-elected vice-chairman and Alton Forbes (ABC) was re-elected secretary-treasurer. New Board member Paul Egbers (ABC) will fill the vacancy of Jerry Tessman whose term on the Board expired. These assignments were effective Aug. 1. Future BI Board Meetings:
  • Oct 10-11, Chicago.
  • Jan 24-25, 2002, San Antonio (following BPAA mid-winter meeting)
  • April 10-11, 2002, Chicago
  • Aug 7-9, 2002, Milwaukee
Please direct comments or inquiries to: Hazel McLeary, Chairman, [email protected] or (250) 382-6506 or to David Patrick, President/COO, [email protected] or (800) 514-BOWL, Ext. 3250.

-ABC Masters Expands As It Changes

08/08/2001 - Bowling Newsline
      The American Bowling Congress has announced it will conduct the richest ABC Masters in the event's 52-year history in 2002 when the unique double-elimination match play tournament will guarantee a $350,000 prize fund.

      In addition, the Masters will move from its traditional home on the ABC Championships Tournament lanes (scheduled for Billings, Mont., in 2002) and will return to the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev., Jan. 16-20, where it will be a part of the Professional Bowlers Association's 20-event 2001-02 series of ESPN-televised events.

      As one of the PBA's four major events, ABC will guarantee the record prize fund with $100,000 going to the winner and $50,000 to the runner-up. The top 100 places will earn a minimum of $1,000. The other PBA major events are the U.S. Open, PBA World Championship and Brunswick World Tournament of Champions. Five previous Masters have paid $250,000 prize funds with $40,000 first prizes.

      "The ABC has stepped up its pledge to support the PBA," ABC Executive Director Roger Dalkin said. "We feel the PBA, through its television contract with ESPN, plays a vital role in exposing people to the sport. This can potentially help our efforts to rebuild ABC membership. Enhancing the prize fund for the Masters while giving millions of bowling fans an opportunity to watch the finals is good for the sport."

      ABC has long been a PBA supporter, sponsoring numerous events over the years. Most recently ABC has partnered with PBA to telecast the Masters from 1998 to 2001. The 90-minute live coverage of the 2002 event will air on ESPN Sunday, Jan. 20, at 12:30 p.m. (Eastern).

      The Masters will continue to be sanctioned and conducted by ABC. The tournament's unique qualifying and double-elimination match play format will remain unchanged. It will continue to be open to all professionals and non-professionals who meet the Masters entry requirements.

      Over the years many of bowling's greats have won the Masters as well as lesser-known amateurs. Professional star Parker Bohn III won the 2001 Masters. Brian Boghosian of Middletown, Conn., was the last amateur (Syracuse, N.Y., in 1999), ironically defeating Bohn in the title match.

      Established in 1951, the ABC Masters is bowling's premier match play event. More than 500 of the world's top professional and non-professional players are expected to compete for the 2002 title. For Masters entry information, call (800) 514-BOWL, Ext. 3415 or visit (click on the ABC tab).

-USA Bowlers Dominate At Deaflympics; Vymazal, Reeves Star With Three Golds Each

08/08/2001 - Bowling Newsline
      Led by Gary Vymazal and David Reeves, the Deaf TEAM USA took all the gold medals in the men's Deaflympics (formerly the Deaf World Games) that concluded Aug. 1 in Rome, Italy.

      Both bowlers had three gold medals with Vymazal adding silver and bronze. The U.S. men's medal count was 12 gold, three silver and one bronze . In the women's division, the U.S. captured four gold and nine silver medals. The women were led by Patty Brothag, Mantua, Ohio, with two golds and two silvers.

      Vymazal, Colorado Springs, Colo., started the U.S. success by winning singles with 1,361 for six games. He later paired with Matthew Pocci Jr., Rochester, N.Y., to capture doubles with a record 2,843. All scores were scratch.

      Reeves, Indianapolis, joined Denver's Tony Passarelli and Robert Coker, Springfield, Ill., to win men's trios with 3,776. Just 14 pins behind them were silver medalists Vymazal, Pocci and Edward Abakumoff of Riverside, Calif.

      The U.S. also captured the men's team event as Abakumoff, Reeves, Coker, Pocci and Vymazal set another record with 6,303. Reeves later won gold in the Masters with a two-game 414-359 win over Taiwan's Li Hsiao Chang. The stepladder finals began with Chang beating bronze medalist Vymazal 201-183.

      Brothag started the U.S. women off strong by winning singles with a record 1,225. She later joined Diana Thompson, Cuyahuga Falls, Ohio, and Jerilyn Keller, San Antonio, in capturing trios with a record 3,505.

      Thompson earned silver in singles with 1,161 and joined Elizabeth Aiken, Penfield, N.Y., in taking silver in doubles with 2,151. Thompson, Aiken, Keller and Brothag joined Sheri Mize, Austin, Texas, to capture silver in team with 4,993.

      Brothag added another silver in Masters after dropping a 420-391 decision to gold medalist Celine Ribet of France.

      The next Deaflympics will be held in 2005 in Australia.

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