For the 38 years, ESPN and it’s various networks were the host of the PBA Tour and during that time there were a lot of memories for me going from childhood into adulthood. I witnessed the likes of Walter Ray Williams Jr. Parker Bohn III, Norm Duke and Pete Weber. Growing up, bowling was the only sport I was allowed to participate in so I gravitated towards the sport and it’s personalities. Like all sports, they have to evolve with how the game is played, as well as the presentation, programming and content of how the game is viewed. The last few years on ESPN, the game had not evolved in it’s presentation and didn’t bring any new concepts or ideas to the table. For me personally, this was a problem. The game had become complacent and stale which had become a turnoff for myself and others as well. In May 2018, the PBA announced a new multi year deal with FOX, which has been a game changer. Fox and the PBA announced a new broadcasting schedule, which gave bowling fans more content and more opportunities for bowlers to appear on TV.
This year alone we have seen nine different winners on TV along with the dominance of Jason Belmonte and the resurgence of Norm Duke. Also, for the first time in my lifetime there was a period of five days in a row where a different tournament aired live on TV. This was the tenth anniversary of the World Series of Bowling and the difficulty and demand these bowlers has to deal with was nothing short of amazing. The World Series of Bowl featured three oil patterns, a World Championships and a battle between USA and the World. From where I sat, it was the great week in the history of the sport since it’s formation in 1958. The other new addition to PBA on FOX this year is the new PBA Playoffs. The PBA playoffs will consist of the top twenty four players in points throughout the year and they will have to compete in a tournament where its a single game and if you lose you’re eliminated. The top eight bowlers in the points standings will receive byes in the first round. Those top eight bowlers are Jason Belmonte, Jakob Butturff, Norm Duke, Anthony Simonsen, EJ Tackett, Sean Rash, Bill O’Neill and Tom Daugherty. The following are the first round matches will air on Fox Sports April 8th:
Chris Barnesvs. Kyle Troup,
Kris Prather vs. Darren Tang
Rhino Page vs. Shawn Maldonado
Dick Allen vs. Andres Gomez
Wes Malott vs. Josh Blanchard
Marshall Kent vs. Jesper Svensson
Dom Barrett vs. Brad Miller
Kyle Sherman vs. DJ Archer
Round Two will air April 22nd, April 29th, May 6th, and May 13th. Round Three will May 20th and 27th. The Semifinals will air June 1st and the Finals will air on June 2nd. This will cap off a year that has brought bowling back into the spotlight with new personalities and old familiar faces. Don’t frown because one the playoffs are over you will see the PBA League take place on FS1 in July and the PBA Tour Finals on CBS Sports. This year marked the beginning of a new chapter for the PBA and with Fox by their side, they have a bright future ahead of them.
All Images from PBA.com, Owned by Professional Bowlers Association