SEATTLE - The Professional Bowlers Association has been super-sized.
The upcoming 55th annual PBA Tour season will be longer. The number of titles up for grabs will be greater. The fields will be larger. Even the length of many TV shows will be increased.
PBA Commissioner Tom Clark made the announcement Tuesday that the PBA’s historic 2012-13 campaign will run from November's PBA World Series of Bowling IV at South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas through December 2013 and include up to 40 opportunities for players to win PBA Tour titles.
"This season will be big," Clark said. "Every year the greatest players in the world produce unforgettable moments in their quest for PBA titles, but the PBA and its fans wanted more. The stage is now set."
The PBA schedule will include two World Series of Bowling, five major championships, new Winter and Summer Swing open events with multiple titles at stake, and an estimated 15 World Bowling Tour stops that will award PBA Tour titles if won by PBA members and PBA International members.
Approximately 50 hours of action will be televised nationally during the season. Additionally, the PBA's online bowling channel Xtra Frame plans more than 200 hours of live coverage.
Clark said the 14-month season will also mean a move towards a regular calendar-year PBA season starting in January, 2014.
Significant highlights from the 2012-13 schedule include:
● The United States Bowling Congress Masters will be held at Brunswick Zone Carolier Lanes in North Brunswick, N.J., in February, the PBA Tournament of Champions will be hosted by long-time PBA host Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis in March, and the 70th U.S. Open will be held at a site to be announced in July 2013.
● The new PBA Winter Swing will be contested in January at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich., host of WSOB I. In addition to four national titles including a revamped PBA Players Championship, the Winter Swing will introduce a significant new format to be announced.
● Ten of the scheduled nationally-televised shows have been increased from 90 minutes to two hours, which means the USBC Masters and PBA Tournament of Champions, among others, will feature five-player stepladder finals instead of four.
● All World Series event finals will return to stepladder formats.
● The PBA Tournament of Champions will return to a traditional limited-field invitational event.
● The World Tenpin Bowling Association’s World Bowling Tour points list – based on cumulative totals over a span of two years - will determine the finalists for the men's and women's WBT Finals presented by the PBA which will be held at both WSOB IV and WSOB V.
Also to be announced will be the annual PBA Chris Paul Celebrity Invitational.
Future news releases will also detail the full ESPN and Xtra Frame coverage slates. Additional updates will be posted on pba.com. Also follow the PBA on Twitter @pbatour and on its Facebook page Professional Bowlers Association (PBA). To subscribe to Xtra Frame, visit pba.com.
2012-13 PBA TOUR SCHEDULE
(Tentative: certain elements subject to change; PBA Tour and PBA International members only are eligible to win PBA Tour titles in World Bowling Tour events. Additional WBT events are expected to be added later.)
Nov. 2-11 - PBA World Series of Bowling IV, South Point Bowling Center, Las Vegas
Men’s and Women’s World Bowling Tour Finals presented by the PBA; Cheetah Championship; Viper Championship; Chameleon Championship; Scorpion Championship; PBA World Championship (major). WBT Women’s Final also will be included, but is not a PBA Tour title event. (Open to all PBA members).
Nov. 29-Dec. 1 - Round One's International Japan Cup, Japan (invitational).
Dec. 4-8 - WBT Dubai Open, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (open field).
Dec. 9-15 - WBT Qatar Open, Doha, Qatar (open field).
Jan. 4-13 – WBT Brunswick BallMaster Open, Helsinki, Finland (open field).
Jan. 15-19 - WBT International Bowling Championship, Nagoya, Japan (open field).
Jan. 19-28 - PBA Winter Swing, Thunderbowl, Allen Park, Mich.
Carmen Salvino Classic; Mark Roth Classic; Don Carter Classic; PBA Players Championship (open to all PBA members).
Feb. 18-24 - United States Bowling Congress Masters, Brunswick Zone Carolier, North Brunswick, N.J. (major championship; open field).
March 3-9 - WBT Bahrain Open, Oman, Bahrain (open field).
March 13-17 - WBT Kuwait Open, Kuwait City, Kuwait (open field).
March 15-24 - WBT Brunswick EuroChallenge, St. Maximim, France (open field).
March 26-31 - PBA Tournament of Champions, Woodland Bowl, Indianapolis (major championship; invitational).
May 20-27 – PBA Summer Swing, site to be announced
Four PBA Tour titles to be announced (open to all PBA members).
July 21-28 - 70th U.S. Open, to be announced (major championship; open field).
Aug. 31-Sept. 4 - WBT Las Vegas International Open, site to be announced, Las Vegas (open field; follows WTBA World Championships).
Sept. 24-30 - WBT Thailand Open, Bangkok, Thailand (open field).
TBA - WBT Vienna Open, Vienna, Austria (open field).
Oct. 21-26 - WBT Australian Masters, Sydney, Australia (open field).
Nov. 1-10, 2013 - PBA World Series of Bowling V, Las Vegas
Men’s and Women’s World Bowling Tour Finals presented by the PBA; four PBA “pattern championships”; PBA World Championship (major). WBT Women’s Final also will be included, but is not a PBA Tour title event. (Open to all PBA members).
Nov. 27-30, 2013 - Round One's International Japan Cup, Japan (invitational).