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The Professional Bowlers Association’s 33rd season on ESPN begins Sunday, when the men’s and women’s finals of the Bayer Advanced Aspirin World Bowling Tour Finals presented by PBA airs from 1-3 p.m. ET from the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
As the first event of the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IV, the men’s and women’s finals will feature a lineup of PBA star players who earned their spots in the three-player stepladder format by placing in the top three in World Bowling Tour points over a span of two seasons.
The women’s final will consist of three players who have made their marks in PBA history. The opening match will feature Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., the first woman to win a PBA regional title and the first woman to reach a nationally-televised PBA Tour title match, bowling against Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., who won the 2010 PBA Tournament of Champions to become the first woman to win a PBA Tour title.
The winner of match one will take on Missy Parkin of Lake Forest, Calif., the first woman to join the PBA and, along with Kulick, the only two women who have won two PBA Regional titles.
The men’s opening match will pit four-time Tour winner and 2012 USBC Masters champion Mike Fagan of Dallas against 14-time Tour winner and former Player of the Year Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas. The winner will battle defending WBT Finals champion and top qualifier Mika Koivuniemi of Finland. Koivuniemi is a nine-time Tour winner and a two-time PBA Player of the Year.
The winner in each division will receive $20,000. Second place will pay $10,000 and third will receive $5,000.
Following the WBT finals telecast, the next five consecutive Sundays will feature World Series of Bowling finals with all 90-minute programs airing at 1 p.m. ET. The Alka Seltzer Plus Cold Cheetah Championship airs on Dec. 16, the Viper Championship on Dec. 23, the Chameleon Championship on Dec. 30, the Bowlers Journal Scorpion Championship on Jan. 6, and the PBA World Championship on Jan. 13.
Each ESPN telecast will be preceded by a special pre-game show on PBA’s online bowling channel, Xtra Frame, and each will feature a post-game show on Xtra Frame with an interview with the tournament winner. Xtra Frame subscription information is available by clicking on Xtra Frame
About the World Bowling Tour
While not a PBA Tour event, the 2012 World Bowling Tour men’s and women’s finals are the culmination of a two-year around-the-world journey in which the three finalists in both the men and women’s division earned their spots as the top three in WBT points accumulated over the past two years.
The World Bowling Tour is made up of a series of tournaments conducted by the World Tenpin Bowling Association. Players earn points based on how they finish in each event. The points competition is continuous over a two-year cycle with points earned in each new event replacing points earned in events at the beginning of the cycle.
The World Bowling Tour conducts international tournaments on five continents. In 2012, more than 2,700 players - many of whom are PBA members - from almost 50 countries competed in WBT events. All WBT events are also considered WTBA-PBA International Tour events, awarding PBA International Tour titles to winners who also are PBA members.
The World Tenpin Bowling Association, which includes 115 member bowling federations, is the world governing body for the sport.
Three easy steps to enhance your PBA telecast experience:
1) Tune into pba.com’s Xtra Frame for free interviews with the finalists as they give their insight into strategy and equipment selection. All preview shows on Xtra Frame are available the Monday before each Sunday ESPN telecast at no cost.
2) Watch the ESPN finals on Sunday, 1 p.m. ET. ESPN’s coverage of the Bayer Advanced Aspirin PBA World Bowling Tour men’s and women’s finals from South Point in Las Vegas is a two-hour event.
3) Turn into the post-event show at Sunday 3 p.m. ET. Xtra Frame’s post-tournament show interviews the winning player and provides in-depth ball rep analysis of the winner’s equipment selection and ball preparation.
Bowling fans can provide their feedback on PBA Tour telecasts through PBA’s social networking platforms on Facebook and Twitter