PBA Network Launch Provides PBA Access to Bowling Fans Around the World

by Bill Vint September 19, 2014 04:39

CHICAGO – The Professional Bowlers Association has announced the launch of the PBA Network, a multi-platform media umbrella built for fans and highlighted by televised and digital event coverage of the best players in the world competing for the most coveted titles in the sport.

Through the PBA Network, fans will have unprecedented access to the PBA including wall-to-wall coverage of an expanded schedule of live events, player interaction, mobile gaming, original programming, archived events and immediate news updates anytime, on varying communications devices anywhere in the world.

PBA.com, the official website of the PBA, will be the home base for the PBA Network (http://www.pba.com/PBANetwork/), linking to all of its media touch points at pba.com/PBANetwork. Xtra Frame, the PBA’s streaming video service, is the lynchpin of the PBA Network with a yearly subscription fee of $64.99 ($5.41 a month) or monthly subscription rate of $7.99, available at xtraframe.tv/pba/.

“The PBA has provided the most memorable moments and defined icons in bowling since its inception in 1958. Along the way it has been part of the fabric of the sports world as a staple on national television for more than 50 consecutive years, including every year of broadcast partner ESPN’s history since 1979,” PBA Commissioner Tom Clark said. “The PBA has also been a trailblazer and leader in digital online coverage of sporting events since 2001, first on our Strike Pass, now Xtra Frame platform.

“The PBA Network celebrates the diversity of media outlets, competition and programming we have developed to make it better than ever for bowling fans to play games and get the best bowling action, news and information they want, whenever they want it, using whatever communications tools available to them.”

The PBA Network is also a cohesive vehicle for the PBA’s sponsors and partners to reach its great fan base across the PBA’s expanding media universe, including:

● Network television (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, CBS Sports Network). In 2015, PBA’s network telecasts will include more than 47 hours of original programming and will reach a total audience of more than 50 million viewers.

● Live streaming video (Xtra Frame). PBA produces hundreds of hours of live coverage of PBA Tour, PBA50 and PBA Regional events, plus original programming and archived ESPN shows, qualifying rounds and match play from hundreds of events serving a dedicated audience of more than 5,500 paid subscribers on a daily basis. Captivated subscribers spend an average of 60 minutes per viewing.

● Web site (PBA.com). Featuring live scoring of major events, statistical updates, calendar information, video, player bios, scoring records, historical data and links to player web sites and social media. In the past 12 months, more than 2.5 million unique users from over 100 countries visited pba.com, recording just over 19 million page views.

● Online video (PBA YouTube Channel). PBA’s video content on its dedicated YouTube Channel has recorded more than nine million views.

● PBA In-box (PBA e-Newsletter, email notices). More than 200,000 PBA fans have signed up to receive the PBA’s electronic fan newsletter to get news and sponsor updates via email.

● Mobile gaming (PBA Bowling Challenge by Concrete Software is on Google Play, Apple iOS, Amazon App Store, Nook). Nearly 11 million mobile device users have been exposed to PBA competition through downloads and more than 115,000 play the PBA game on a daily basis.

● Social media (Professional Bowlers Association [PBA] Facebook page and associated PBA Regional, PBA50, PBA League and PBA personality Facebook pages; and @PBATour on Twitter). PBA’s most prominent social media outlets include 150,000-plus likes and 27,000-plus followers. PBA Player and PBA League owner communications via social media bring those numbers into millions of followers.

“Access and availability have been critical in developing the PBA Network along with digital partners such as our Xtra Frame host NeuLion and mobile game developer Concrete Software,” Clark said. "Whether your favorite communications device is your smart phone, lap top, tablet or TV, the PBA has created a media outlet that allows you to access news and watch bowling action easily anytime and anywhere.”

The recently-released 2015 PBA calendar of events (http://news.pba.com/post/2014/9/17/29-PBA-Tour-Titles-Will-Be-Decided-During-Expanded-2015-Season.aspx) includes a global tournament schedule that will reward 37 PBA national titles from now until the end of 2015. In 2015, the PBA will conduct more than 180 tournaments in the USA and more in cooperation with a growing number of international partners and World Bowling. The PBA Network includes on-site fan interaction and pro-ams in over 150 cities worldwide for PBA Tour, PBA50 Tour, PBA Regionals for men, seniors and women; World Bowling-PBA International Tour and PBA Japan Regional program events.

PBA Network promotional posters featuring reigning PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte, Rookie of the Year E. J. Tackett, Summer Swing King of the Swing Bill O’Neill and World Bowling Tour Finals champion Sean Rash have been distributed to most bowling centers in the USA and the PBA Network launch video is on the PBA’s free YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjUFx5-lhcM&feature=youtu.be.

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New DHC PBA Japan Invitational Adds to PBA World Series’ International Impact

by Bill Vint September 12, 2014 02:27

CHICAGO – The Professional Bowlers Association’s World Series of Bowling VI, along with its new relationships with the bowling community in Japan, have combined to create a new PBA DHC Japan Invitational tournament in January that will be an important event in the international bowling community that also will kick off the PBA’s 2015 Tour schedule.

The DHC PBA Japan Invitational, a PBA Tour title event, will feature an elite field of players who will qualify during the PBA World Series of Bowling VI Oct. 24-Nov. 2 at South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas, along with an elite field of 16 Japanese players. The DHC Invitational – the first international PBA Tour event to be covered start-to-finish live on PBA’s online bowling channel Xtra Frame – will take place Jan. 15-18 at Tokyo Port Bowl in Japan, and will feature a series of pro-am and exhibition matches in addition to the main event.

The DHC tournament is an extension of the PBA’s work with Japan Bowling Promotions that earlier in the year helped create the PBA Japan Regional program. The new regional program will be included in the qualifying process for Japanese players earning berths into the elite field of players who will bowl in January.

The DHC Invitational field will include a field of 16 international players and 16 Japanese players competing for shares of a $215,000 prize fund, which includes a $47,000 first prize, and a PBA Tour title. The international field will include 12 qualifiers from the PBA World Championship during WSOB VI based upon a combined 28 qualifying games in the PBA Cheetah, Viper, Chameleon and Scorpion Championships, plus 24 games of match play (11 men plus the highest woman qualifier if she is not among the 12 leading qualifiers). The four additional international players will include three PBA members plus one Korean PBA player invited by DHC.

The Japanese contingent will include the top four players on the DHC PBA Japan Invitational points list; four players based on PBA Japan Region points; one player each selected by each bowling organization in Japan, and four players who will earn berths in a Pre-Tournament Qualifier.

The tournament program will involve 32 games of round-robin match play leading into a five-player stepladder final for the DHC Japan Invitational title. In addition, all 32 players will participate in Baker team and Scotch doubles exhibition matches, which will include $40,000 in additional prize money.

“The DHC PBA Japan Invitational is the result of a great deal of hard work and cooperation with the Japan bowling community which has provided PBA members with a great new event,” said PBA Commissioner Tom Clark. “We greatly appreciate the involvement of DHC Limited, Japan Bowling Promotions and our partners in Japan who have made this event possible.”

In addition to television coverage in Japan, the PBA will provide international online coverage of the event for the first time by sending its Xtra Frame crew to Tokyo. Xtra Frame, which is available on a subscription basis to bowling fans around the world, also will cover the entire PBA World Championship qualifying process in Las Vegas that will determine the PBA Tour players who will earn berths in the DHC PBA Japan Invitational.

The inaugural season of PBA Japan Regional competition is in progress, with four of seven scheduled events completed. Remaining events on the 2014 schedule include the Japan Viper Open on Monday, Sept. 15, and the Japan Women’s DHC Scorpion Open and Scorpion Open tournaments Nov. 8-9.

Tokyo Port Bowl, Tokyo, Japan (all times local; live video streaming coverage on PBA’s online bowling channel Xtra Frame)

Thursday, Jan. 15
Pro-Am and Japan Pre-Tournament Qualifier (at Shinagawa Prince Hotel Bowling Center)

Friday, Jan. 16
8 a.m. – 32 players, 8 games round-robin match play
1 p.m. - 32 players, 8 games round-robin match play
6 p.m. – Baker team exhibition: 8 four-player teams, 8 games Baker format round-robin match play
  Top two four-player teams advance to TV finals

Saturday, Jan. 17
8 a.m. - 32 players, 8 games round-robin match play
1 p.m. - 32 players, 8 games round-robin match play
  Top five players advance to TV stepladder finals
6 p.m. – Scotch doubles exhibition: 16 doubles teams, round-robin match play
  Top two teams advance to TV finals

Sunday, Jan. 18
10:15 a.m. - Scotch doubles TV finals (two teams)
11 a.m. - Baker team TV finals (two teams)
Noon - DHC PBA Japan Invitational stepladder finals (five players)
2:30 p.m. - Special exhibition: top five international, top five Japan players who did not qualify for TV, one-ball “last man standing” elimination special event (low score per round eliminated)

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Milwaukee to Host PBA Players Championship, Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Events

by Bill Vint September 10, 2014 04:30

CHICAGO – The world’s best bowlers will return to Milwaukee in late January to compete in the preliminary rounds of two Professional Bowlers Association championship tournaments – the PBA Players Championship and the Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship – leading into a mega-television weekend in Indianapolis as part of the 50th anniversary Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions.

AMF Bowlero Lanes in suburban Wauwatosa will host the special competitions for PBA members Jan. 26-30 offering $250,000 in prize money before the players head north to Green Bay to compete in the United States Bowling Congress Masters – the first major championship on the 2015 PBA schedule – which is scheduled for Feb. 2-8 at Ashwaubenon Bowl. The Milwaukee stop will be responsible for determining the TV finalists who will head to Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis for an ESPN “tripleheader” Feb. 14-15.

“Thanks to our friends at AMF Bowlero Lanes, we’re providing the great bowling fans in Milwaukee and our Xtra Frame viewers around the world with a pair of great tournaments in the days leading into the USBC Masters and the PBA’s 50th anniversary Tournament of Champions,” said PBA Commissioner Tom Clark.

The Milwaukee stop will involve concurrent qualifying rounds on Tuesday, Jan. 27, and Wednesday, Jan. 28, for the Players Championship and the Roth/Holman Doubles Championship. All players will bowl two qualifying rounds totaling 12 games with the top 24 individuals and the top 12 doubles teams advancing to round-robin match play.

The Players Championship finalists will bowl three eight-game match play rounds Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., and Thursday at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., with the top five after a total of 36 games advancing to the stepladder finals which will be conducted for delayed telecast on ESPN on Saturday, Feb. 14, at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis in conjunction with the 50th Tournament of Champions. The PBA Players Championship finals will air on ESPN on Sunday, Feb. 22, at 1 p.m.

The PBA returns to an old-school format for the Roth/Holman PBA Doubles Championship, which is named in honor of two PBA legends who also bowled together as one of the sport’s most successful doubles teams. PBA members will be allowed to form their own doubles teams, and they will use their combined 12-game qualifying totals to determine the 12 teams advancing to the match play finals.

The finalists will then bowl two six-game, Baker format match play rounds at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 30. After a composite total of 36 qualifying and Baker games, the top five teams will advance to the PBA Doubles Championship finals which will be conducted on Sunday, Feb. 15, at Woodland Bowl following the live 1 p.m. telecast of the Tournament of Champions finals. The PBA Doubles show will air on ESPN on March 1 at 1 p.m. ET.

Based upon a field of 130 players, the PBA Players Championship will pay a $25,000 first prize and 32 cashing positions while the Roth/Holman Doubles champions will split a $24,000 first prize. All 12 doubles teams advancing to match play will cash.

Defending champion in the PBA Players Championship is Australia’s Jason Belmonte. Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, and Norm Duke of Clermont, Florida, are defending Roth/Holman PBA Doubles champions. Both events were last conducted during the 2011 PBA World Series of Bowling in Las Vegas.

All competition rounds of the Milwaukee events will be covered live by PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel.

AMF Bowlero Lanes, Wauwatosa, Wis., Jan. 26-30

Monday, Jan. 26
2 p.m. – Official practice session

Tuesday, Jan. 27
8 a.m. – Players Championship/PBA Doubles qualifying, 8 games

Wednesday, Jan. 28
8 a.m. – Players Championship/PBA Doubles qualifying, 4 games
  Top 24 individuals advance to Players Championship match play and top 12 teams advance to PBA Doubles match play
1:30 p.m. – Top 24 Players Championship, 8 games round-robin match play

Thursday, Jan. 29
8 a.m. - Top 24 Players Championship, 8 games round-robin match play
1 p.m. - Top 24 Players Championship, 8 games round-robin match play
   Top five after 36 games advance to ESPN stepladder finals at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 14, at Woodland Bowl, Indianapolis (finals air Sunday, Feb. 22, at 1 p.m. ET)

Friday, Jan. 30
8 a.m. – Top 12 doubles teams, 6 games round-robin match play (Baker format)
1 p.m. - Top 12 doubles teams, 6 games round-robin match play (Baker format)
  Top five doubles teams advance to ESPN stepladder finals at 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 15, at Woodland Bowl, Indianapolis (finals air Sunday, March 1, at 1 p.m. ET)

The schedule can be downloaded HERE.

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PBA Spare Shots: 30 PBA Players Heading to Tokyo in November for 28th Round1 Japan Cup

by Bill Vint September 5, 2014 07:36

A field of 30 PBA players, including 16 points qualifiers, four sponsor selections and 10 who plan to bowl in the “pre-tournament qualifier,” are heading to Tokyo to participate in the 28th Round1 Japan Cup at Minami Suna Round1 Bowling Center Nov. 10-15.

The 16 players who have accepted invitations based upon PBA Tour competition points earned between the 2013 PBA World Series of Bowling V and the end of the 2014 PBA Summer Swing are: Jason Belmonte, Dom Barrett, E.J. Tackett, Sean Rash, Wes Malott, Tom Smallwood, Pete Weber, Bill O’Neill, Ryan Ciminelli, Tommy Jones, Mike Fagan, Ronnie Russell, Mika Koivuniemi, Chris Loschetter, Dan MacLelland and Stuart Williams.

The four players who have been invited by Round1 are: Walter Ray Williams Jr., Brian Voss, Osku Palermaa and Parker Bohn III.

The 10 players who have confirmed plans to participate in the PTQ to try to make it into the Japan Cup field are: Josh Blanchard, Thomas Larsen, Jake Peters, Jason Sterner, Scott Norton, Norm Duke, Craig Nidiffer, Johnathan Bower, Marshall Kent and Brad Miller.

The PTQ will be conducted on Wednesday, Nov. 12. Qualifying rounds for A and B squads will take place on Nov. 13. Ten PBA players will be assigned to each squad; the top 32 from each squad will advance to the best-of-five-game match play elimination rounds on Friday, Nov. 14, narrowing the field of eight for Saturday’s televised finals. The eight finalists will be paired for one-game matches leading to the championship match on Saturday, Nov. 15.

Japan’s Yuya Katoh is the defending champion; he is the third Japanese player ever to win the Cup and the first to do so since 1988.


PBA Hall of Famer George Pappas of Charlotte, N.C.; Gary Morgan of Atlanta, and Steve Jones of Berlin, Md., were winners in a PBA South Region “tripleheader” over the extended Labor Day weekend.

Pappas got the series underway when he rallied to defeat Tim Kauble of Marion, Ohio, 192-244, 214-202, 289-210, in the best-of-three-game title match to win $2,000 and his 28th PBA Regional title in the PBA60 Wilson & Sons Termite and Pest Control Southern Open for players 60 and older at Victory Lanes in Mooresville, N.C., on Sunday, Aug. 31.

Morgan captured the PBA50 Budweiser Mooresville South Open, also at Victory Lanes, on Monday, defeating Andrew Farrow of Anderson, S.C., 235-212, 278-227, in their best-of-three-game title match for $2,000 and his 15th career PBA Regional title.

On Thursday, Jones won nine of his 12 matches and posted a 20-game total of 4,812 pins, including match play bonus pins, to win the PBA60 Kingsport Southern Open at Warpath Lanes in Kingsport, Tenn., by 32 pins over Greg McMahan of Dandridge, Tenn. Jones won $2,000 in the tournament for players ages 60 and older.

● Eddie Van Daniker of Chatsworth, Calif. and amateur partner Zeke Bayt of Westerville, Ohio posted a 9-2-1 match play record and a combined 20-game total of 8,925 pins Sunday to win the PBA Tony Reyes Memorial Member/Non-Member Doubles presented by Brunswick at 4th Street Bowl in San Jose, California by 309 pins over Curtis Woods of Santa Rosa, Calif. and Josh Blanchard of Gilbert, Ariz. The winners split a $4,000 first prize.

● Amateur Chris Pierson of Waukesha, Wis. defeated Amanda Greene of Romney, W.Va., 246-197, to win the PBA BOWLSTRONG Midwest/Central Challenge at King Pin Lanes in Springfield, Ill., on Sunday. Pierson won his first PBA Regional event and earned $2,200 but he does not get credit for a PBA title because he is not a member. Greene is a competitor in the new PBA Women’s Regional program. She earned $1,100 as runner-up.

The BOWLSTRONG weekend also included a Tournament of Champions special event for PBA title winners. John Slavich VI of Schaumburg, Ill., won the special six-game competition with a 1,375 pinfall total, 16 pins better than PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo. Slavich won $1,500 and Weber earned $900. Eugene McCune of Munster, Ind., finished third for $700 and Tom Hess of Urbandale, Iowa, was fourth for $500.

Mike Healy of Yonkers, New York defeated Chris Fedden of Albany, New York, 207-158, to win the PBA50 Hammer Black Widow Legend Open at Strike Zone Alleys in Pottsville, Pa., on Sunday. Along with his first PBA Regional title – which made him eligible to enter the 50th anniversary PBA Tournament of Champions in February in Indianapolis – Healy earned a $1,500 first prize.

● The Sept. 5-7 weekend schedule for PBA Regional players includes the Moon City Central Classic presented by Roto Grip at Astro Lanes in Wapakoneta, Ohio; the Grand Hotel, Casino & Resort Southwest Invitational at Firelake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla. (featuring live Xtra Frame coverage); the PBA50 Howell Lanes East Open in Howell, N.J.; the Rufus West Open presented by Columbia 300 at FlipSide Lanes in Gilbert, Ariz., and a pair of one-day PBA50 events presented by Ebonite at Illinois Valley Super Bowl in Peru, Ill.

The Sept. 12-14 schedule includes the PBA McAlester Southwest Open at Great Balls of Fire Entertainment Center in McAlester, Okla.; the PBA50 Lakeview Lanes East Open in Fulton, N.Y.; the PBA Budweiser Midwest Open presented by Dexter at Diamond Jo Casino’s Cherry Lanes in Dubuque, Iowa (a PBA Women’s Regional points event which will be covered live by Xtra Frame), and a return to action in the PBA Japan Region with the Viper Open at Sagami First Lane in Kanagawa on Monday, Sept. 15.

On the Sept. 19-21 PBA Regional calendar are the PBA Rex & Griffin Bigelow Memorial Central Open at Troy Bowl in Troy, Ohio; the PBA/PBA50 Ken & Kathy Fowler Auto Centers West/Northwest Doubles at Yokayo Bowling Center in Ukiah, Calif., and the PBA Odessa Southwest Open at Astro Bowl in Odessa, Texas.

Closing out the month over the Sept. 26-28 weekend will be the PBA Tomball Southwest Open at Tomball Bowl in Tomball, Texas (the Southwest Region’s third-and-final PBA Women’s qualifying event); the PBA and PBA50 Fog City West Open presented by Rotor Grip at Classic Bowling Center in Daly City, Calif.; the PBA Break Point Alley Member/Non-Member Doubles (a reduced entry fee event) in Tavares, Fla.; the PBA50 Mel Westrich Memorial Central/Midwest Open presented by Storm at Delphos Recreation Center in Delphos, Ohio; the PBA Midcontinent Communications Midwest Open at Empire Bowl in Sioux Falls, S.D., and the PBA Pavlinko Pro Shops Eastern Open (a one-day re-entry event on Sunday) at Brunswick Zone in Turnersville, N.J.

For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area.


The South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is offering a special rate of $48 per night weekdays and $88 per night weekends (plus tax) for family members, friends, fans, business representatives and news media representatives attending the PBA World Series of Bowling VI. For room reservations and more information about the South Point, visit www.southpointcasino.com or call 1-866-796-7111. The promotional code is “PBA 1019.”  The reservation deadline is Oct. 3.

The multi-event international bowling competition will be held Oct. 24 through Nov. 2 and will include four animal pattern tournaments, the PBA World Championship, World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals and PBA Challenge Finals. The ESPN telecasts for each of these events will be taped in the new South Point Bowling Stadium on Nov. 1 and 2.


● Kayla Stram, a competitor in the PBA Women’s Regional program at Bowlerama Lanes in Des Moines, Iowa, over the Aug. 23-24 weekend, was the August winner in the HotelPlanner.com sweepstakes, winning $200 in hotel lodging credits through the PBA’s official travel partner. Stram, who earned her chance at the prize by booking her room through HotelPlanner.com, finished 22nd overall in the PBA Midwest Regional event in Des Moines.

Mike Riccitelli of Carolina Shores, N.C., won a PBA World Series of Bowling VI Super Fan Package offered during a special Grand Strand Bowling for Vets clinic conducted by Norm Duke’s Next Level Bowling organization in Little River, S.C., in late August. Riccitelli’s package for two people includes round-trip airfare, two nights’ lodging at South Point Hotel and two VIP tickets to attend the WSOB VI television finals on Nov. 1-2 at the new South Point Bowling Stadium.

● In keeping with its recently-adopted naming standards for PBA competition, PBA has adopted the acronym PBA60 for use in designating “super senior” competition in the future. The new terminology will apply to events, awards or programs associated with PBA players who are ages 60 and older, just as PBA50 applies to activities for players ages 50 and older. The new PBA60 designation can be used immediately, but will become an official part of the PBA terminology effective with the start of the 2015 season on January 1.

● Reminder: the Professional Bowlers Association’s permanent office address is now 55 E. Jackson Ave., Suite 401, Chicago, IL 60604. The organization’s home-base telephone numbers remain the same: 206-332-9688 (fax: 206-332-9722).

Xtra Frame, the PBA’s online bowling channel, will be on hand for the PBA Grand Hotel, Casino and Resort Southwest Regional Invitational from Shawnee, Okla., Sept. 5-7, and the Diamond Jo’s Casino Midwest Open at Cherry Lanes in Dubuque, Iowa, Sept. 13-14. The Dubuque event will be the second of three PBA Women’s Regional events in the Midwest Region.

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PBA, DraftKings Enter into Online Fantasy Game Affiliate Agreement

by Bill Vint September 2, 2014 02:38

SEATTLE (Sept. 2, 2014) – The Professional Bowlers Association has entered into an affiliate agreement with DraftKings.com that has special appeal to PBA fans who enjoy playing online fantasy sports games, PBA Commissioner Tom Clark announced today.

The agreement invites PBA fans to sign up with DraftKings through a link on pba.com and through PBA’s Facebook and Twitter pages to compete for cash prizes offered by DraftKings and special prizes offered by the PBA in a wide variety of fantasy sports games.

DraftKings is a broad-based fantasy sports gaming website that offers games for fans of professional football, baseball, golf, basketball, hockey and college football and basketball. The website specializes in daily and weekly contests with cash and merchandise prizes.

“We hope this is the beginning of a great relationship with DraftKings,” Clark said. “We plan to explore potential opportunities of mutual interest, including the possibility of a fantasy bowling game at some point in the future.”

In support of the PBA venture, fans can join DraftKings by clicking on the link on the pba.com home page, which automatically makes you part of the PBA community or by using this link: http://partners.draftkings.com/SHX5. If you go directly to DraftKings.com to sign up, enter “PBA” in the “promo code” box to note your PBA affiliation.

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