PBA Spare Shots: Entries Open April 1 for PBA Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Summer Swing

by Bill Vint March 26, 2015 04:00

Entries into the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Summer Swing in Shawnee, Okla., May 9-17, will open to the PBA general membership on a first-come, first-served basis on Wednesday, April 1. A capacity field of 120 players is expected for the multi-event summer series.

For a $750 entry fee, players will be entered into the PBA Wolf, Bear, Badger and Oklahoma Open tournaments, plus they will be eligible to advance to the King of the Swing special event if they qualify during the tournament. All five events will be televised by CBS Sports Network; broadcast dates and times will be announced later.

The third annual Summer Swing offers 18 cashing spots and a $10,000 first prize for the Wolf, Bear and Badger Opens – all of which will be contested on special “animal pattern” lane conditions. Based on combined qualifying pinfall totals for those three events, 40 players will cash in the Oklahoma Open, which will pay $20,000 to the winner. The King of the Swing will include the winners of those four events plus a “wild card” player, and will pay a top prize of $10,000. Complete tournament details are listed on pba.com under the “schedules” tab.

Entries must be submitted to Mary von Krueger at maryvk@pba.com or call her: 206-332-9688.

The Grand Casino Hotel & Resort is offering a discounted $89 room rate to the PBA Summer Swing bowlers. Reservations can be made online at  www.grandresortok.com/hotel/. When booking your room, enter the code 150508PBA in the Group Code under “Advanced Options.”

BOHN, RASH ACHIEVE ELITE PBA MILLIONAIRE MILESTONES

The most current statistical analysis of PBA players shows PBA Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J., has joined Walter Ray Williams Jr., Pete Weber and Norm Duke as the fourth player in PBA history to surpass $3 million in career earnings.

With his 34th career victory in the PBA Players Championship, Bohn increased his career earnings to $3,000,056. Williams, the only player to exceed $4 million in PBA earnings, is currently at $4,580,444 followed by Weber at $3,825,313 and Duke at $3,188,263.

Also reaching a career milestone is Sean Rash who recently cracked the $1 million barrier and currently ranks 41st ($1,048,976). Rash, 32, made the elite club over a span of 278 PBA Tour events in his seven-year career and is one of 44 PBA “millionaires.”

Chris Barnes ($2,317,949) has moved past Amleto Monacelli ($2,289,389) into sixth place on the all-time earnings list, and Mika Koivuniemi has moved into the top 10 with $1,900,311, bumping Jason Couch ($1,791,702) into 11th place.

BARRETT, KULICK RETAIN LEADS IN WORLD BOWLING TOUR POINTS

After three weeks of World Bowling Tour competition in Qatar, Bahrain and Germany, England's Dom Barrett and the Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., maintained their positions at the top of the rolling two-year WBT points standings. Both took part in all three events.

Barrett leads the men's rankings with 608 points after earning one point in Qatar, eight in Bahrain and 20 in Germany. Mike Fagan of Fort Worth, Texas, is second with 564 points followed by Australian Jason Belmonte with 549 points.

Kulick extended her lead after picking up 25 points in Qatar, 15 in Bahrain and 40 in Germany. With 638 points, she’s comfortably ahead of Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y. (526), and Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y., who picked up 100 points over the three events to make her first appearance in the top three with 433 points.

The top three men and three women on the WBT points lists will compete in the World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals, presented by the PBA, during PBA World Series of Bowling VII next fall at South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas. The next event on the WBT schedule is the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Summer Swing’s PBA Oklahoma Open in Shawnee, Okla., May 9-17.

“PHILADELPHIA HITMEN” VIRTUAL BOWLING BALL COMPLETE PBA LEAGUE SET

The eighth and final PBA League “virtual” bowling ball will be introduced into Concrete Software’s PBA Bowling Challenge game on Thursday (March 26) when the Philadelphia Hitmen-logoed ball joins the lineup for gaming play for PBA Bowling Challenge players. Balls already available include the Dallas Strikers, GEICO New York WTT KingPins, Silver Lake Atom Splitters, Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits, Motown Muscle, L.A. X and BROOKLYN STyLES. The final virtual ball will be introduced just ahead of the start of PBA League Elias Cup competition March 28-29 at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine.

PBA League virtual balls are in play for the more than 12 million people who play PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game on a regular basis. The PBA Bowling Challenge by Concrete Software app is available on Google Play, Apple iOS, Amazon App Store and Nook.

PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: BOHR WINS 19TH REGIONAL TITLE IN ODESSA

Nathan Bohr of Austin, Texas, turned back amateur Chris Kaiser, 258-172, to claim his 19th PBA Regional title Sunday in the fourth annual PBA Odessa Southwest Open at Astro Bowl. Bohr started the championship match with a spare followed by seven strikes to coast to the $2,500 winner’s check.

Bohr, who finished the qualifying rounds in fifth place, received a bye to the best-of-three-game Round of 12 where he started his road to victory by edging West Texas State amateur Tyler Albracht, 2-1, eliminating Albracht, 20-18, in a two-frame roll-off to win the deciding game. Bohr then eliminated PBA Southwest Region Player of the Year Shawn Maldonado of Houston and qualifying leader Clint Land of Richmond, Texas, in the semifinal round, 220-177.

● PBA Hall of Famer Tom Baker of King, N.C., defeated Steve Ferraro of Kingston, N.Y., 265-175, 257-205, in the best-of-three-game title match to win his 33rd overall PBA Regional title in the PBA50 Fayetteville  Southern Open at LaFayette Lanes in Fayetteville, N.C., Sunday. Baker earned $1,600.

Mike Danielson of Portland, Ore., defeated Brian Tinsley of Medford, Ore., 237-218, to win his fifth regional title and $2,000 in the PBA Northwest/West DV8 Open at Caveman Bowl in Grants Pass, Ore., Sunday.

● Top qualifier Kelly Jordon of Marion, Ohio, defeated Eugene McCune of Munster, Ind., 199-193, to win the PBA Trumbull County Visitors Bureau Central/East Open presented by DV8 for his first PBA Regional title at Bell-Wick Bowl in Hubbard, Ohio, Sunday. Jordon earned $2,500.

Jeff Zaffino of Warren, Pa., defeated Brian LeClair of Albany, N.Y., 269-216, to win the PBA50 Rossi Lanes Eastern Open at Rossi Lanes in Elmira, N.Y., Sunday, for a $2,500 first prize and his 25th career regional title.

Curt Aemisegger of Wauconda, Ill., defeated Harry Sullins of Chesterfield Twp., Mich., 276-228, to win the PBA50 Boys & Girls Club Midwest/Central Open at Liberty Lanes in Carpentersville, Ill., on Saturday. It was Aemisegger’s third career PBA regional title and earned him a $1,500 first prize.

● Wrapping up the March regional calendar over the 27-28 weekend will be the PBA50 Tony Grigat Allstate Midwest/Central Open presented by DV8 at Willowbrook Lanes in Willowbrook, Ill.

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.

QUICK NOTES

● Correction: The Malaysian bowler who finished second to Josh Blanchard in the Brunswick Euro Challenge is Sin Li Jane, not Li Jane Sin as noted in the PBA release. Our apologies for the confusion over her name.

● Reminder: Every month, HotelPlanner.com, the official travel partner of the PBA, is awarding a $200 lodging gift certificate to a lucky person who books a hotel room through HotelPlanner.com. Use the “Book Hotel” link on pba.com before the last day of the month, and you will be automatically entered. The $200 gift certificate will be valid for hotel room and tax only.

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PBA Spare Shots: Tickets for Oklahoma Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Summer Swing TV Finals Now on Sale

by Bill Vint March 18, 2015 03:24

Tickets for the CBS Sports Network finals of five PBA Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Summer Swing events are now available. The finals of the Wolf, Badger, Bear, PBA Oklahoma Open, and Oklahoma’s Grand Casino Resort King of the Swing special event will be contested in the Grand Casino Event Center in Shawnee, Okla., on Saturday and Sunday, May 16-17.

Individual day passes can be purchased at http://www.grandboxoffice.com/event?eventid=66 for $25. Day passes are for general admission seating in the balcony overlooking the two-lane bowling installation, and are good for all telecasts happening the day of purchase. Weekend passes can be purchased at http://www.grandboxoffice.com/event?eventid=65. Tickets are $60 each, allow access to all finals conducted over the weekend, and will be good for general admission seating on the first floor bleachers next to the lanes.

The May 16 schedule includes the Wolf Open finals at 11 a.m. (CT), Bear Open at 2:30 and Badger Open at 5:15. The May 17 schedule includes the Oklahoma Open finals at noon and the King of the Swing at 3:30 p.m.

Summer Swing qualifying rounds will be held at nearby Firelake Bowling Center May 11-14. Defending champions are Sean Rash, Wolf Open; Ronnie Russell, Bear Open; Bill O’Neill, Badger Open, and Jason Belmonte, Oklahoma Open. O’Neill also won the King of Swing special event to conclude the 2014 Summer Swing.

For players and fans who are planning to travel to the Oklahoma’s Grand Casino Resort & Hotel for the event, rooms can now be booked at http://www.grandresortok.com/hotel/ or by calling reservations at (405) 964-7777. Grand Casino Resort is a full-service complex featuring the 262-room Grand Hotel, restaurants, golf course and many other amenities.

Bowling fans also are invited to bowl with the pros in the pro-am program on Saturday, May 9, at Firelake. To enter contact the FireLake Bowling Center at (405) 275-0404.

“BROOKYN STyLES” PBA LEAGUE VIRTUAL BOWLING BALL DEBUTS THIS WEEK

Number seven in the series of PBA League “virtual” bowling balls being introduced into Concrete Software’s PBA Bowling Challenge game on Thursday (March 19) will be the BROOKLYN STyLES. PBA League-logoed “virtual” team balls for gaming play already available to PBA Bowling Challenge players include the Dallas Strikers, GEICO New York WTT KingPins, Silver Lake Atom Splitters, Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits, Motown Muscle and L.A. X. The final remaining PBA League virtual ball, featuring the Philadelphia Hitmen logo, will be added to the PBA Bowling Challenge arsenal on March 26, just ahead of the start of PBA League Elias Cup competition March 28-29 at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine.

PBA League virtual balls are in play for the more than 12 million people who play PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game on a regular basis. The PBA Bowling Challenge by Concrete Software app is available on Google Play, Apple iOS, Amazon App Store and Nook.

BRUNSWICK STARS TO CONDUCT “MINI CAMPS” IN MAINE, NEW YORK, RHODE ISLAND

An all-star lineup of Brunswick pro staff players will participate in a series of four Brunswick Mini Camps in Maine, New York and Rhode Island in the weeks ahead, starting with a session at Sparetime Recreation in Hallowell, Maine, prior to start of the PBA’s “Maine Event” program in Portland.

Beginning with the Hallowell program on Thursday, March 26, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., the mini camp program will include instruction programs on lane play and ball layout involving Brunswick/DV8 staff members PBA Hall of Famers Parker Bohn III, Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Johnny Petraglia; former PBA Player of the Year Sean Rash; PBA Tour champions Tom Smallwood, Jason Sterner, Tom Hess and Ryan Ciminelli; two-handed veteran Brian Valenta, and Brunswick/DV8 ball rep Chuck Gardner.

Additional mini camps are scheduled for April 1 at Thunderbird Lanes in Syracuse, N.Y.; April 2 at Pat Tarsio Lanes in Newburgh, N.Y., and April 4 at East Providence Lanes in Rumford, R.I., on April 4. The basic tuition fee is $225. An additional upgrade fee includes a Brunswick/DV8 ball. To reserve your spot, contact Sean Rash (316-250-2980 or email: seanrashfan@gmail.com), or go to BrunswickBowlingCamp on Facebook.

ANGELO WINS KUWAIT OPEN; PBA STARS HEAD TO MUNICH

Brad Angelo of Lockport, N.Y., defeated Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., 257-191, to win the $25,000 first prize in the Kuwait International Open Saturday in Kuwait City. The tournament was not a PBA International-World Bowling Tour approved event.

In the stepladder finals, Hong Kong’s Michael Mak eliminated Finland’s Mika Koivuniemi in match one, 223-201; DJ Archer of Friendswood, Texas, defeated Mak in match two, 226-223, and Jones ousted Archer in the semifinal match, 234-173, to advance to the title match. Other PBA members who finished among the top 15 modified match play finalists were Sweden’s Robert Andersson; John Szczerbinski of N. Tonawanda, N.Y.; Dom Barrett of England; Ildemaro Ruiz of Venezuela; Jason Sterner of Covington, Ga., and Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash.

PBA players will complete a three-event PBA International-World Bowling Tour series this week at Dream-Bowl Palace in Munich, Germany, site of the Brunswick Euro Challenge, which ends Sunday. Kent is defending champion. First prize will be $12,000 and a PBA International Tour title if the winner is a PBA member. PBA fans can follow the action in Munich on the official tournament website, http://brunswickeurochallenge.com/results-2015/

PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: BORESCH WINS MILESTONE 30TH REGIONAL TITLE

Lennie Boresch Jr. of Kenosha, Wis., defeated Mike Mineman of St. Louis, 234-218, to win the PBA50 Showtime Lanes Midwest/Central Open in Virden, Ill., Sunday for his 30th overall regional title. Along with his second PBA50 Midwest title of the year, Boresch also took home the $1,500 first prize.

Boresch defeated amateur Ken Galitsky of Plainfield, Ind., 2-0 in the best of three-game semifinal round while Mineman edged Brad Sipes of Bloomington, Ill., 2-1, in the other semifinal round match.

● PBA Regional action continues over the March 20-22 weekend with the PBA50 Fayetteville (N.C.) Open at Lafayette Lanes; the PBA50 Rossi Lanes Open in Elmira, N.Y.; the joint PBA Trumbull County Tourism Bureau Central/East Open presented by DV8 at Bell-Wick Bowl in Hubbard, Ohio; the PBA Odessa (Texas) Southwest Open at Astro Bowl; the PBA50 Boys & Girls Club Midwest/Central Open presented by MOTIV at Liberty Lanes in Carpentersville, Ill., and the PBA Caveman Bowl Northwest/West Open in Grants Pass, Ore.

● Wrapping up the March regional calendar over the 27-28 weekend will be the PBA50 Tony Grigat Allstate Midwest/Central Open presented by DV8 at Willowbrook Lanes in Willowbrook, Ill.

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.

QUICK NOTES

● Reminder: Voting on the PBA’s “best trick shot ever” will close on Friday at 8 p.m. ET. Visit pba.com and click on the “Trick Shot Poll” link (http://www.pba.com/Vote/) to preview great tricks performed by Norm Duke, Chris Barnes, Osku Palermaa and the late Andy Varipapa. The results will be revealed on ESPN telecasts of PBA League competition from Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine, beginning with the No. 4 video on the Sunday, March 29, coverage of PBA League quarterfinal round 1; No. 3 on the April 5 coverage of PBAL quarterfinal round 2, the two finalists will be shown on the April 12 PBAL semifinal telecast for another “best of all-time” fan vote, and the winner will be revealed during the PBA League Elias Cup finals telecast on Sunday, April 19.

● PBA fans can earn a discount on an Xtra Frame Season Ticket subscription with the purchase of a new bowling ball through a special limited-time arrangement with Bowling Infinity Group. Visit http://offthetrailer.com/ for details on how to earn a $25 discount and free shipping on the bowling ball-Xtra Frame Season Ticket package now through April 30.

● Reminder: Every month, HotelPlanner.com, the official travel partner of the PBA, is awarding a $200 lodging gift certificate to a lucky person who books a hotel room through HotelPlanner.com. Use the “Book Hotel” link on pba.com before the last day of the month, and you will be automatically entered. The $200 gift certificate will be valid for hotel room and tax only.

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PBA Spare Shots: PBA Fans Invited to Vote on Best Trick Shot Ever

by Bill Vint March 11, 2015 03:48

PBA fans are invited to vote on the best bowling trick shots ever in a special poll now underway on pba.com. The “contest” features four great trick shots: Norm Duke’s “spinning ball spare,” Chris Barnes’ “Flying Eagle,” Osku Palermaa’s “over the chair strike” and the late Andy Varipapa’s “three-ball split conversion.”

Voting on pba.com will close on Friday, March 20 at 8 p.m. ET. The results will be revealed on ESPN telecasts of PBA League competition from Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine, beginning with the No. 4 video on the Sunday, March 29, coverage of PBA League quarterfinal round 1; No. 3 on the April 5 coverage of PBAL quarterfinal round 2, the two finalists will be shown on the April 12 PBAL semifinal telecast for another “best of all-time” fan vote, and the winner will be revealed during the PBA League Elias Cup finals telecast on Sunday, April 19.

To vote, visit pba.com and click on the Trick Shot Poll link (http://www.pba.com/Vote/).

“L.A. X” PBA LEAGUE VIRTUAL BOWLING BALL DEBUTS THIS WEEK

Number six in the continuing series, Concrete Software will debut the “virtual” L.A. X PBA League team ball into the PBA Bowling Challenge game on Thursday (March 12). PBA League-logoed team balls for gaming play currently available to PBA Bowling Challenge players include the Dallas Strikers, GEICO New York WTT KingPins, Silver Lake Atom Splitters, Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits and Motown Muscle. The two remaining PBA League balls will be added to the PBA Bowling Challenge arsenal, one a week, leading up to the PBA League Elias Cup competition March 28-29 at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine.

PBA League-logoed balls can be used by more than 12 million people who play PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game on a regular basis. The PBA Bowling Challenge by Concrete Software app is available on Google Play, Apple iOS, Amazon App Store and Nook.

PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: WEBER OVERCOMES ACCIDENTAL BALL SWITCH TO WIN

Overcoming an accidental ball switch, Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., defeated Toby Contreras of Lee’s Summit, Mo., 223-177, to win the PBA50 Thunderbowl Midwest Open at Thunderbowl in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Sunday.

Weber had just defeated Greg Shields of Independence, Mo., in the semifinal round, 2-0 in a best-of-three-game contest and was preparing for the title match when he discovered that Shields had accidentally taken the wrong ball off the ball return, and had immediately left the building. The ball included a removable thumb insert that Weber had used all day, but he picked up another ball and used a different thumb insert to win his fourth PBA50 regional title.

Dale Csuhta of Wadsworth, Ohio, defeated Tom Baker of King, N.C. by 70 pins to win the PBA50 Victory Lanes Central Open presented by 900 Global at Victory Lanes in Galion, Ohio, Sunday.

Csuhta finished with a 7-5 match play record and a total of 4,893 pins for 20 games, including match play bonus pins. The title was Csuhta’s first of the year in the PBA Central Region and his ninth overall PBA Regional title. He also earned $1,500.

● Amateur Darren Tang of San Francisco posted a 7-2-1 match play record and a 18-game total of 4,589 pins Sunday to win the PBA Sands Regency Winter Classic, capping a weekend tripleheader of PBA regional competition presented by Storm.

Tang, who won the standard regional event by 167 pins over Brad Bufkin of Citrus Heights, Calif., earned $2,000 but because he is an amateur, he does not receive a PBA title.

In the companion PBA50 Sands Regency Winter Classic, amateur Chip Aki of Grand Prairie, Texas went 8-2 and knocked down 4,619 total pins for 18 games. Aki earned $1,500 for his 84-pin victory over Ron Mohr of Las Vegas in an event for players 50 and older.

Leading into the weekend tripleheader, Hernan Ramirez of Venezuela defeated Don Cosper of Reno, Nev., 257-225, to win Friday’s Sands Regency Challenge Winter Classic. The Challenge was open to players who had never won a PBA title. Ramirez earned $1,500 along with his first PBA title.

● The March 13-15 PBA Regional schedule includes only one event – the joint PBA50 Showtime Lanes Midwest/Central Open presented by Track in Virden, Ill.

● A heavy slate of PBA Regional action is on tap over the March 20-22 weekend, including the PBA50 Fayetteville (N.C.) Open at Lafayette Lanes; the PBA50 Rossi Lanes Open in Elmira, N.Y.; the joint PBA Trumbull County Tourism Bureau Central/East Open presented by DV8 at Bell-Wick Bowl in Hubbard, Ohio; the PBA Odessa (Texas) Southwest Open at Astro Bowl; the PBA50 Boys & Girls Club Midwest/Central Open presented by MOTIV at Liberty Lanes in Carpentersville, Ill., and the PBA Caveman Bowl Northwest/West Open in Grants Pass, Ore.

● Wrapping up the March PBA Regional schedule over the 27-28 weekend will be the PBA50 Tony Grigat Allstate Midwest/Central Open presented by DV8 at Willowbrook Lanes in Willowbrook, Ill.

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.

QUICK NOTES

● PBA Charter Member Fred Riccilli of Seal Beach, Calif., died on Monday, March 2, at age 93. The long-time proprietor of Champion Lanes in Orange County, Calif., never won PBA title, but he did win the 1952 Petersen Classic in Chicago and was the first player drafted in the short-lived National Bowling League in 1960.

● Former PBA member Chuck Lammlein of Camden, Mo., died on March 3 at age 90. An accomplished bowler and long-time proprietor of Coachlite Lanes in Rolla, Mo., Lammlein was credited with participating in the sponsorship of PBA events held at Dick Weber Lanes in St. Louis, and as an innovator in promoting bowling on outdoor lanes which led to Weber’s appearance on several “Late Night with David Letterman” shows.

Jerod Hromek, the son of retired three-time PBA Tour champion Justin Hromek, won his second straight Kansas state high school singles title and led Wichita Circle High to its first Class 5-1A team title at Northrock Lanes in Wichita on March 5. Jerod, a junior, became the first bowler in the 11-year history of Kansas’ state high school bowling championships to win two state titles. He won the individual title behind games of 298, 207 and 247 for a 752 series.

● With 2015 PBA League competition set for the last weekend of March, PBA League fans are invited to purchase special PBA League-logoed t-shirts to support their favorite team(s). Visit “shop” at pba.com for details. The entire PBA League “Maine Event” will air on four consecutive weekends on ESPN beginning Sunday, March 29, at .

● PBA fans can earn a discount on an Xtra Frame Season Ticket subscription with the purchase of a new bowling ball through a special limited-time arrangement with Bowling Infinity Group. Visit http://offthetrailer.com/ for details on how to earn a $25 discount and free shipping on the bowling ball-Xtra Frame Season Ticket package now through April 30.

● Reminder: Every month, HotelPlanner.com, the official travel partner of the PBA, is awarding a $200 lodging gift certificate to a lucky person who books a hotel room through HotelPlanner.com. Use the “Book Hotel” link on pba.com before the last day of the month, and you will be automatically entered. The $200 gift certificate will be valid for hotel room and tax only. February’s HotelPlanner.com sweepstakes winner was Kerry Davis from Atlanta.

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PBA Network Helps Create Historic Fan Interaction Around the World

by Bill Vint March 6, 2015 03:22

CHICAGO – In the five months since the inception of the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Network prior to last October's GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VI, the PBA has seen sharp year-over-year increases in television ratings and viewership numbers on ESPN, live-streaming subscription numbers on Xtra Frame, game play on the PBA Bowling Challenge mobile game, digital video views on its YouTube Channel and unique users of its web site PBA.com.

For the past five PBA telecasts on ESPN airing on consecutive Sundays, February 1 through March 1, ratings are up 66% from last year’s same period and viewership is up 74% from last year. Average viewership is over 920,000 for those five shows including the CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational (at 1.1 million average viewers the highest for a PBA telecast since 2012), the USBC Masters (up 62% over 2014), the 50th anniversary Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions, PBA Players Championship and Roth/Holman PBA Doubles Championship.

“Our fans are connecting with the action in more ways than ever, and our media partners ESPN, Google, Concrete Software and NeuLion have all helped tremendously to drive larger audiences and interaction,” PBA Commissioner Tom Clark said. "Over the past five weeks the PBA has been near the top of the list of most-watched sports programs airing on Sundays on cable TV and our sponsors are reaping the benefits of this tremendous exposure.”

Clark said once fans have connected with the PBA, they are becoming riveted to the action.

“Our PBA players are providing compelling drama on the lanes as they always do, and our content producers and on-air talent both on TV and online are doing an expert job of storytelling, bringing the fans closer to the challenges players face and the history that’s on the line,” Clark said.

Across the PBA Network, the fan statistics are on an impressive rise:

● PBA on ESPN: Ratings for the 2014-15 season’s 12 telecasts, including the WSOB are up 30%. This pace would mark the highest year-over-year percentage increases in ratings and viewership in PBA history.

● PBA on Xtra Frame: Subscription numbers to the PBA’s online live streaming video service have increased by 39% since September, exceeding 7,000 for the first time.

● PBA YouTube Channel: During the period from the WSOB VI in October to date, there have been more than 4 million views of PBA content, a dramatic increase over roughly 200,000 views during that time frame one year ago. The 2014 WSOB PBA World Championship finals won by Mike Fagan that aired live on ESPN in January had more than 150,000 views over the past few weeks.

● PBA Bowling Challenge mobile game: There have been more than 12 million downloads of the popular Concrete Software game, enhanced in recent months by real PBA Product Registered bowling balls and new interactive challenges for gamers.

● PBA.com web site: Since September more than 1 million unique users have had almost 8 million page views on pba.com, the daily hub of activity, news and information pertaining to the PBA Network.

Among other things, Clark attributes much of the positive momentum to social media.

"When the CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational aired on Super Bowl Sunday, Twitter activity spiked like never before and viewership numbers in the coveted 18-49 year-old age group were the highest we’ve seen in five years,” Clark said. "Likewise social media exploded and drove people to their TVs during the heated Pete Weber vs. Jason Belmonte match on the USBC Masters telecast and during Sean Rash’s perfect game at the Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions.”

Fanning the flames, the PBA’s official Facebook page and Twitter accounts have also increased in activity and followers by more than 20% since October and the PBA has kept die-hard fans (more than 200,000 signed up to receive direct email notifications) informed of programming opportunities with regular communications.

On-site, the WSOB VI opened the new South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas with overflow crowds, and the CP3 PBA event in Torrance, Calif.; USBC Masters in Green Bay, Wis., and the 50th Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions in Indianapolis were all sold out well in advance. The upcoming PBA Maine Event in late March which includes the PBA League Elias Cup Playoffs and Maine Shootout at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine, is already sold out for onsite attendance.

PBA highlights have aired on three of the past few weeks on ESPN SportsCenter, and a new “This Is SportCenter” ad airing across ESPN platforms features a bowler for the first time, PBA star Pete Weber.

Internationally, cooperative ventures with the World Bowling Tour and the creation of PBA Japan have resulted in increased fan interaction globally. Australian Jason Belmonte is the two-time PBA Player of the Year and winner of three straight USBC Masters and two straight PBA Tournament of Champions, resulting in more bowling coverage in Australia than ever before.

The PBA on ESPN continues Sunday, March 29, with quarterfinal round coverage in the PBA League Playoffs from Portland. The PBA League, featuring eight teams of PBA stars in pursuit of the third Elias Cup, airs four consecutive Sundays ending April 19. The next PBA singles national title also will be decided in Portland during the Xtra Frame Tour Maine Shootout, which will be covered from start to finish March 30-31 including the championship match, exclusively on XtraFrame.TV.

More information can be found on pba.com. Follow the PBA on its official Facebook page at Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) and on Twitter @PBATour.

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Wheaties Signs on as Sponsor of PBA League, L.A. X Team

by Bill Vint March 2, 2015 09:28

CHICAGO – The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) and Wheaties have reached an agreement to have the General Mills brand come on as a sponsor for both the 2015 PBA League playoffs and as presenting sponsor of team L.A. X later this month at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine.

The sponsorship package will include on-site signage during the PBA League Elias Cup Playoffs, as well as 30-second commercials on the four ESPN telecasts originating from the event. PBA League quarterfinal, semifinal and Elias Cup Finals shows will air on ESPN on March 29, April 5, April 12 and April 19.

“Wheaties is an iconic brand, and to have it attach its name to the PBA is very exciting,” said PBA Commissioner Tom Clark. “The PBA has a lot of momentum. Large audiences have been riveted to compelling action on the lanes."

Wheaties’ deal with the PBA comes as the Tour’s television series is enjoying a 22 percent increase in year-over-year audience ratings on ESPN.

“The PBA is a high-energy organization, and bowling has really grown in popularity, so it was a great opportunity for us,” said Jamie Lyon, associate marketing manager for Wheaties. “We have a history with working with so many iconic athletes. There’s something about bowling that’s very classic.”

Shamrock Sports & Entertainment, the PBA’s strategic marketing and sales agency, negotiated the agreement.

"The PBA is experiencing historic popularity via double digit increases in ratings on ESPN and Wheaties is eager to tap into that passion and performance,” Shamrock President Brian Corcoran said. "We are confident this initial partnership between PBA and Wheaties only scratches the surface of many shared values and championship celebrations to come.”

Wheaties will sponsor the PBA League’s L.A. X, a team founded by Los Angeles Clippers all-star Chris Paul and featuring a roster that includes two-time reigning PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte of Australia; England’s Stuart Williams, Sweden’s Martin Larsen, Colombia’s Andres Gomez and Patrick Allen of Wesley Chapel, Fla. Andrew Cain is team manager.

The PBA League portion of the PBA’s schedule has a unique attraction to potential sponsors, Clark said, because it features teams competing rather than individuals.

“During the traditional season, a brand can sponsor a player or multiple players and gamble on that player making the ESPN finals,” he said. “During the PBA League competition, you know for a fact that your team is going to have visibility on ESPN.”

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