PBA Spare Shots: Chris Paul PBA Celebrity Invitational at “Lucky Strike LA Live” is a Hollywood Hit

by Bill Vint January 24, 2012 06:22

The fourth annual Chris Paul PBA Celebrity Invitational, presented by Sheets Brand, provided enough all-new story lines to create a script that will make Hollywood proud. The unique aspects of the event will become apparent when the special two-hour telecast airs on “Super Bowl Sunday,” Feb. 5, at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN. Some of the highlights:

It was the first PBA event to be contested in a Lucky Strike center. Lucky Strike LA Live is part of a chain of 21 cutting-edge bowling-based entertainment facilities scattered across the U.S. and Canada. Lucky Strike LA Live features 18 bowling lanes, billiards tables, private party rooms, plasma TVs, full-service bar and an electronic arts show. It hosts corporate events and private parties from birthdays to bachelorette parties, along with catering to everyday recreational enthusiasts. The Los Angeles facility, which is located across from the Staples Center where Paul’s Los Angeles Clippers play, hosts the ultimate nightlife experience in its Luxe Lounge, a four-lane private suite featuring high-definition projection screens that span the pins and also boasts a theatre-quality surround sound system.

The Chris Paul Celebrity Invitational is the second time the PBA has used an upscale “boutique” bowling center as host for a special event. In the summer of 2011, the PBA visited 10pin bowling lounge in downtown Chicago as host for its GEICO Team Shootout, a summer series of made-for-television singles, doubles and team competitions pitting bowling ball companies against each other.

Paul, who joined the L.A. Clippers at the start of the 2011-12 season, has made a lot of friends during his brief stay in Los Angeles, and several of them joined the special fundraiser benefitting the CP3 Foundation. Among the celebrity bowlers were former Southern Cal and current Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush, L.A. Clippers teammate and NBA Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin, former New York Giants star defensive end and current Fox NFL analyst Michael Strahan, actors Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy) and Jerry Ferrara (Entourage), comedian Kevin Hart and Grammy Award-winning recording artist Ciara. Comedian and “The Price is Right” host Drew Carey also was in attendance. “Mindless Behavior,” one of the hottest groups on the contemporary music scene, provided the musical entertainment.

The Chris Paul Invitational also introduced Sheets Brand in a key sponsorship role. Sheets Brand is “the new way to do energy,” using sugar-free, no-calorie energy strips loaded with vitamin B. For the third year, Storm Bowling Products also was a major sponsor, sending staff players Pete Weber, Wes Malott, Ryan Shafer and defending champion Jason Belmonte (with partner Chris Paul) to partner with the celebrity bowlers.

From a social media exposure standpoint, the celebrity guests combined reach in excess of 10 million followers through their Twitter accounts, and those numbers are magnified to close to 40 million through their Facebook pages. That doesn’t include standard newspaper, magazine, bowling publication, website and radio/television exposures.

The 2012 version of the Chris Paul Celebrity Invitational featured a format change from its previous doubles competition to a new three-player Baker Team format, with a PBA star anchoring each team.

All proceeds from the event benefit Chris Paul’s charitable causes. The CP3 Foundation, founded in 2005 as a tribute to his late grandfather and the Winston-Salem, N.C., community where Paul grew up, has provided funding for activities ranging from a scholarship program to food drives to recreational support programs for underprivileged children.

PBA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP’S ESPN RATINGS ON AN UPSWING

The audience ratings for the final two ESPN telecasts in the PBA World Championship elimination series demonstrated a pronounced upswing. The PBA World Championship Aulby Division finals, followed by the PBA World Championship finals, both set records for ratings numbers for PBA World Series of Bowling events over its three-year span. More than 750,000 people watched both ESPN telecasts.

The Aulby Division audience was up 20 percent over the previous year’s WSOB telecast on the same date, and the World Championship finals saw an 8% increase over the 2011 finals that aired live on the same date.

XTRA FRAME TO COVER USBC MASTERS QUALIFYING, MATCH PLAY ROUNDS

Bowling fans are invited to watch the preliminary rounds of the Alka Seltzer Plus Liquid Gels United States Bowling Congress Masters this week for the monthly subscription rate of $7.99. Xtra Frame’s schedule of Masters coverage includes the following (all times are Eastern):

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Noon - A Squad five games qualifying; 4 p.m. - B Squad five games qualifying.

Wednesday, Jan. 25: Noon - B Squad five games qualifying; 4 p.m. - A Squad five games qualifying.

Thursday, Jan. 26: 1 p.m. – Five-game cashers qualifying round; Three-game, double-elimination match play rounds at 7, 8:30 and 10 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 27: Three-game, double-elimination match play rounds (winners and losers brackets) at 1, 2:15, 3:30, 6:30, 7:45 and 9 p.m.

To subscribe to Xtra Frame, visit pba.com and look for the Xtra Frame logo.

CARTER WINS JOINT MIDWEST/CENTRAL REGION LYNWOOD SENIOR OPEN

Tom Carter of Rockford, Ill., defeated Rick Woloszyn of Griffith, Ind., 233-205, to win the joint PBA Midwest/Central Region Lynwood Bowl Senior Open presented by Allstate Insurance in Lynwood, Ill., on Sunday, Jan. 22. The title was Carter’s first of the 2011-12 season and the fifth regional victory of his career. He earned $1,500 along with his title.

PBA Regional activity continues Feb. 3-5 with the Sparetime Lanes Senior Open presented by Allstate Insurance, Feb. 3-5, in Decatur, Ill. The PBA Central Region’s Legend Lanes Regular/Senior Doubles Classic is set for Jan. 27-29 in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

February’s highlight for non-senior players include the new Regional Players Doubles Championship presented by Hammer Feb. 10-12 at The Orleans in Las Vegas. For complete Regional tournament schedules and entry information, visit pba.com and click on “Regional Tour” under the “Schedules” drop-down tab.

KOIVUNIEMI, ANDERSON LEAD WORLD BOWLING TOUR POINTS

Based on his fourth-place finish in the Brunswick Ballmaster Open in Helsinki, Finland, reigning PBA Player of the Year Mika Koivuniemi expanded his lead in the 2012 WTBA World Bowling Tour men’s point standings, which are based on cumulative points over a span of two years.

Koivuniemi, who led the inaugural points race in 2011 and went on to win the first WBT men’s championship in Las Vegas in November, now has 233 points to lead fellow PBA Tour stars Sean Rash (148), Mike Fagan (140), Jason Belmonte (120), Osku Palermaa (112) and Chris Barnes (92). There are 13 events remaining on the 2012 WBT schedule, including three which will take place at Sunset Station in Las Vegas over the next two weeks: the Alka Seltzer Plus Liquid Gels USBC Masters, a new WTBA International Open, and the International Mini.

Sweden’s Sandra Andersson, who finished second among the women who bowled in the Ballmaster Open, leads the women’s WBT points race with 151 points. Former PBA Women’s Series competitor Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, who defeated Andersson to win the inaugural WBT women’s championship, is second with 145 points (Dorin-Ballard did not bowl in Finland). Sweden’s Nina Flack is third (135) followed by Finland’s Krista Pollanen (130), and U.S. stars Kelly Kulick (100) and Liz Johnson (70).

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