by Mike Jakubowski November 2, 2009 19:00
Pro bowling meets reality television with the documentary-style production of the PBA Cheetah Championship, a first for the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour. You could also roll a camera at PBA Headquarters in Seattle for some interesting television.
I don’t envy Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour Commissioner Fred Schreyer or Deputy Commissioner Tom Clark as the 2009-2010 Tour season unfolds during the worst economic climate in a generation.
The marching orders: offer top-notch national, women’s, senior and regional professional tournaments, stay within budget, maintain a fan base, try to maintain media coverage from an ever-shrinking media base, deliver value for sponsors, engage new sponsors, make the sport of professional bowling accessible to current fans and build a fan base with the next generation of bowlers and bowling fans.
The Cheetah Championship attacks the challenges in a brand new way for fans of professional bowling.
There is a subset of vocal fans of the PBA Tour that are known as traditionalists or purists. All sports have them, they are not generally known as advocates for change, there is nothing wrong with being one.
The purists passionately consider the only legitimate version of professional bowling that exists is an open tournament structure with a local qualifying event. Qualifiers advance to a tournament field that bowls 15 qualifying games which leads to a top-24 that competes in 24 games of round-robin match play leading to a televised stepladder final with the top five competitors featured on the television show.
In effect, you have always needed to win the tournament and then win “The Show” to earn a title on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour.
That formula successfully existed for many years on the ABC television network as the Pro Bowlers Tour gained prominence in the 1960’s through the 1980’s. The formula was created before cable television, personal computers, cell phones, social networking, texting, MLB Interleague play, 16-game NFL schedules, The Amazing Race and American Idol.
The 2008-09 season was filled with unique formats (three-game match play, one-game eliminator), challenges (Plastic Ball Championship, Marathon Open) and obstacles (Mulitple Pattern events) on the way to earning a title on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour. In addition, fields were strengthened significantly with the introduction and success of International stars and two-handed players like Australia’s Jason Belmonte.
The compelling formats and emerging personalities led to increased media coverage of the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour last season leading into this season’s opening PBA World Series of Bowling, all by itself a brand new concept. Brand new to pro bowling, anyway.
Which leads us to the PBA Cheetah Championship at the WSOB, the first-ever “reality-style” presentation of the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour. For the first time, extensive coverage of a Tour event from the first player roll call to the end of the first-ever best four-out-of-seven games format to decide a PBA champion.
An opportunity for the purists to experience a Tour event like never before. For those fans new to professional bowling, an opportunity to have the time to watch all of the complexities of the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour where dedicated players’ livelihoods depend on almost every shot, compelling television.
I invite all of the great fans of the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour to watch the Cheetah Championship on Sunday Nov. 8 at 1p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
Let us know what you think, give us your feedback after the show on Facebook by visiting Mike J. Laneside's fan page or the PBA fan page.
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