After a recent talk with a PBA tour player, I began to think about the 80s and 90s of the Professional Bowling Association tour. I think it is important that we remember the past, and bring the positive into current environment.
During the 80s and 90s, each week the PBA would travel to a new town to hold a PBA event. Before the FOX TV deal, the PBA tour bowls a majority of its events in just a few centers. The current PBA schedule, bowlers only bowl a few weeks out of the year. In the 80s and 90s, bowlers traveled over 25 weeks a year.
Although holding several events in the same center cuts down on the travel expenses of the PBA, and allows the tournaments to be bowled in a quicker format, the fans are missing out.
What are we (the fans) missing out on, you may ask? Interaction with the pro bowler. PBA has become disconnected with the people who have loyally supported it over the years. By traveling from town to town each week, local bowlers from near and far could come support their favorite bowler, interact with them, volunteer to help, and bowl pro-ams. All of these things allowed average bowlers to grow their love of the sport, along with their love of the PBA.
In the current PBA, the extremely limited travel allows for very limited exposure to the fans. Fans are the life blood of the sport. It is my personal feeling that this situation is part of the failing support for the PBA. If a commercial supporter of the PBA is spending a large some of money, they expect fans of the PBA to purchase their merchandise. With the lacking overall support, it has to be really hard for commercial supporters to justify investing in the PBA.
This is one opinion, in a very complexed piece of the puzzle that is running the PBA. The new television deal with FOX has brought a lot of fast money into the PBA, but everyone needs to focus on a real and solid plan on how to use the FOX deal with springboard the PBA's growth for the future.
Junior Gold is growing so fast, and those athletes should have a thriving Professional Origination to strive for.