Tenpin / Tennis / and Television.


Active Member
Read the attachment to come right down to earth on what babes in the woods we are regarding Promotion / Sponsorship and in particular getting a Television Profile. If it's possible anywhere then it is the Asia / Pacific area that could succeed. We had a tiny foot in the door with the 'Tenpin Bowling Show,' but we, both as individuals and our National body - TBA - wouldn't fund it.

Anyone in this day and age, who thinks we can become a high profile sport without getting on TV is on some other planet.

Everything ( including chasing Govt. grants ) should come second, or tenth, or last, behind a single-minded all out effort to get bowling on Television.

How would you like a $2M plus first place payout for the Australian Open?

No? Well, maybe in 20 / 25 years if we start now?


Li Na serves Australia a tourism Grand Slam
Bowling is a hopeless sport.Why would you ever get TV time when even the players struggle to retain interest until the last frame or two.
There is no way you could build a spectator following from the general public, just look across the concourse at any top tournament, not even the local league bowlers find the best bowlers in Australia worth watching ...for free.
Bowling is an entertaining passtime, the people who are skilled at this, gather from time to time and participate in long boring endurance episodes to find an eventual winner...
Sorry, I cant imagine a Television station will be able to sell that to advertisers.
Bowling is a hopeless sport.Why would you ever get TV time when even the players struggle to retain interest until the last frame or two.
There is no way you could build a spectator following from the general public, just look across the concourse at any top tournament, not even the local league bowlers find the best bowlers in Australia worth watching ...for free.
Bowling is an entertaining passtime, the people who are skilled at this, gather from time to time and participate in long boring endurance episodes to find an eventual winner...
Sorry, I cant imagine a Television station will be able to sell that to advertisers.

^troll post. Member for 1 day.

Which forum member is using an alias i wonder?
Bowling is a hopeless sport.Why would you ever get TV time when even the players struggle to retain interest until the last frame or two.
There is no way you could build a spectator following from the general public, just look across the concourse at any top tournament, not even the local league bowlers find the best bowlers in Australia worth watching ...for free.
Bowling is an entertaining passtime, the people who are skilled at this, gather from time to time and participate in long boring endurance episodes to find an eventual winner...
Sorry, I cant imagine a Television station will be able to sell that to advertisers.

I take a different view of this post than Roy does. Agree or not with Mistagear's opinion, it is a legitimate view of what would be impediments to making Tenpin a viable TV proposition. This and other 'negatives' would all need to be examined and addressed in any real professional attempt to construct a proposition for a show which could realistically be sold to TV networks and advertisers.

Hard to fix something, if you don't first identify what's wrong with it.

Some years ago, George posted on here a clip from a Japanese Bowling Show. Wish I could find it. It was sure different from what Mistagear describes.
Hi Roy and Jim,

I might offend a few here, that is not my intension.

For me I do believe that some of the issues with bowling are the bowlers, as pointed out by MistaGear. Please let me explain before jumping over that comments.

We as bowlers do take ourselves too seriously. Bowl our shot, sit down, maybe high five on the way to our seat. Wait our turn, repeat the above.

Some times we will vary this, but mostly not. We often see more excitement at a funeral.

How many of us get up and cheer openly a good shot and engaged with the people on the lanes in league, that social time of bowling.

I cheer every shot regardless of how bad I am bowling.

I will still do the same in a tournament, but obviously will read the persons response as I go, and either try and rev them up or shut up. But most of all I do try to have fun.

so now lets look at Mistagear's thoughts and compare bowling to tennis:

1: what if in bowling like tennis we cheer when our opponent misses, just like in tennis?

2: what if we grunt really loadly just as our opponent is about to bowl their shot, just like in tennis?

3: better still what if we make it like golf and have a caddy hand us our spare ball to finish a frame?

just a few thought, the other is to replace this dammed old laptop as the keyboard is giving me hell.
Hi Roysa,
Am not a troll, not an existing member using an alias.
My previous post was a genuine attempt to promote a discussion on what I feel is a basic flaw of tenpin bowling.
Despite the best efforts of controlling bodies of bowling across the world attempting to promote bowling as a sport through recognition as an Olympic sport since the 1960's, yet other sports such as Triathlon and Beach Volleyball were not invented in the 1960's and have been accepted.
This has to suggest bowling has a basic flaw, together with the evidence of constant struggle by bowling centres to first gain and then retain league players. This is particularly troubling when you compare to other sports,
..bowling has full-time promoters (bowling centre) most other sports do not.
..bowling draws potential participants from much wider age group (8yo- 80yo), requires lower physical effort than most other sports, therefore should fare much better in member numbers.
..bowling has an entertainment element to introduce potential members which most sports do not.
..bowling can be played at almost any time which would suit more participants and therefore should equate to greater numbers.
.. bowling is not affected by weather as many sports.
..bowling envokes almost no enthusiasm/passion at league comp level as almost every other sport does. Most member players do not even bother to practice their chosen sport, shows how bowling is considered more of a passtime than a sport even by the majority of regular participants.
Just take a look in any regional town which has a bowling centre, compare the many disadvantages other "fringe" sports have to bowling and look at participant numbers, go to say a tennis club/hockey or netball field on a bleak winter's day, count the number of spectators, listen to how passionate they are about their sport, listen to how the conversations are all about the sport, unlike bowling where the passion is talking about any another sport. Take note how many people are happy to go to practice session several times each week. See how other sports have members who like their sport so much they stay after their game to watch others play. Members past and present have tremendous loyalty to their sport and their club. Bowing can barely keep local leagues together let alone a comp between different clubs.

I could go further, but I hope you are starting to get the message..bowling has a fatal flaw.
Apologies if you are a genuine poster. However i did frown upon your tone in your very first post on this forum, your first senteance wasnt one of someone who has a genuine interest in the sport.

If you look back over previous threads this topic has been done to death. How the sport is dead and how to fix it.

One point you make around centres being the best advertisers of the sport is right, however the 'advertising' isnt promoting the sport, its promoting a game.

Until the body is serious about making the game of tenpin a sport again we are all pissing in the wind.
Hi guys,

This is an interesting discussion, and I think everyone has some very relevant points. Question is, how can we improve the situation here in Australia?

I think Jim's point about television being key to improving the promotion of the sport is crucial. Yes, there is internet which seems to be the choice of most bowling promotors and producers these days, but to me nothing has as much reach as televsion, particularly public Free To Air television. We had a television program which was well produced and distributed but there were bowlers who opening rediculed the TBS because of what it was BUT it was indeed something and it was better than nothing. The improvements in the production of the show since the time it started were phenomenal and it continued to get better all the time despite the lack of funding, but in the end it all fell by the wayside because of the lack of support by the TBA and the public in general.

There have been alot of good people involved in bowling who have long dedicated their time and energy into doing a number of things to improve and promote the sport of bowling, but have gotten fed up with the lack of support and appreciation, so have given up and even removed themselves from the sport entirely. This leaves other people controlling the sport who are more interested in self than really leaving a lasting legacy or creating something for the overall good of bowling. Couple this with no television coverage on TV to encourage people to bowl and you create a situation where competetive outlets for bowlers are lacking and people drift into and out of leagues and tournaments.

There are other issues of course regarding the integrity and the culture of the game, but I don't think "changing" the game to appeal to the masses is really the answer. Bowling will never be a "first tier" sport like tennis, football and cricket, but I think there is enough love and appeal for the public to embrace the sport more than what they do now by just being true to itself. Yes, some tournament formats can be long and boring but it does bring out the best bowlers for the TV show which is what the masses watch in the end anyway.

Jim, that TV show you are talking about is called P-League, a Japanese women's bowling show where the bowlers wear some interesting apparel and it is hugely popular. You can do a search for it on YouTube and find some clips fairly easily. But let me assure you, it's not popular because of the bowling!


no need for an apology, was just clarifying to prevent being dismissed as troll, can assure my intent has the best interest of future bowlers and the sport, in mind.
If previous threads looked at problems and yet came up with no plausible answers, then the subject needs new and greater attention given to it.

I see Cara Honeychurch now heads TBA, perhaps she and others should be included, for the future of your sport. I'm sure the "body is serious about promoting bowling as a sport" but unfortunately not looked at starting with a clean sheet of paper, looking at how the competitive element is entrenched in other sports by the way their game is played,and then look to include those elements into bowling.

Obviously a sport which has existed in its current form since around 1895 or 1903 (I suggest later more correct) and finds itself in the predicament that bowling does now, should look at every alternative to arrest and correct the decline in participation.

I'm confident bowing could enjoy the sort of professional attention Jim has hinted as possible, however, you would first need to examine the problems faced at grass roots level to give clues why a bowling is flagging at all levels except say at entertainment only level.
If you were to change how the game is played, just as other sports have done to make it possible and desirable for spectators to attend, then and only then do you change the desire of participants to compete. Imagine if the game was scored in a way which made every ball bowled directly comparable to your opponents shot, suddenly you could introduce excitement and tension in every shot. Now you can entertain a spectator throughout the entire match, not just in the last few frames.
Imagine if you had grades for leagues instead of handicaps, now you give players a reason to improve their game.
Once you have a graded comp that a spectator can feel and enjoy as a match progresses, it becomes more prestigious for the players to invite friends along to see their achievements, especially at finals time when you and your team are going head to head in a competition which has genuine appeal.
I believe bowling needs to start with a clean sheet, change how the game is scored, change how league competition is assembled, change how teams are matched against eachother, change how competition finals are played.
Change to a format devised around making bowling spectator friendly and you change the prestige in playing at every level, that will completely transform bowling. Some other sports have changed how they play to appeal to a fan base, bowling needs to do something similar.
I wouldn't have called you a troll had you put your real name In your profile. You raise some good points. Can't see anything changing though. To change the format to a frame by frame basis is drastic as for grading sure but who runs it?

Again it needs to come from the top not from league bowlers on a forum.
Let me set the scene,
Rod Laver Arena, Center Court. A pair of lanes and two elite players ready to go head to head. Lets keep the tennis scoring approach to show how the excitement and theatre can be duplicated with bowling to be just as widely watched as a tennis match.
Top seed "A" is playing sixth seed "B" in a quarter final where the tournament has been bowled in knockout format.
Player "A" serves first ball in the opening game.. bowls and scores 8, leaves a 6.10.
Player "B" returns fire with his/her first shot..bowls a solid pocket shot and leaves a cold 10pin (8spare beats 9miss to win a point)
Tension builds as "A" needs to spare to have any chance to win the point. Spares the frame.
Now pressure on "B", a spare here will win the first point in the opening game of this possible Five Set Match. "B" bowls manages to just clip the 10pin and wins the point.
The bowling match continues as tennis does, the way it's scored is what allows the tension and excitement all throughout the match. Five point games as part of Sets as part of the Match. Each ball bowled has significance, each shot builds the theatre of this exciting match.
(a strike if matched by a strike by the opponent is re-bowled until one player wins the point)
By changing the way bowling is scored, it would be easily possible to create a watchable, salable product, exactly as tennis does now. The general public could readily get involved in a match, ball by ball as easily as they do shot by shot in tennis.
(strikes or spares no longer carry forward to the next shot. A point is won or lost and a new point is bowled with no regard to the previous strike or spare)

At league level bowling, teams could be graded by ability, where the total rating of individuals is added together and must be lower than an established grading. Then bowlers would go head to head to win a point for their team. Teams "serving" would be allowed to change their line-up if they wanted to sacrifice a point with their lowest average player against the opposing team's highest average player in the hope of winning more points with the remaining team members.
Then the other team has opportunity to change line-up for the next game.
Suddenly bowling team league would unite a team and focus attention on each ball bowled.
(Matches consist of a suitable number of sets to suit time constraints for weekly leagues or tournaments etc)

In both examples above, scoring is both easy for players to understand who is winning and more exciting than current scoring method because it creates a mini result which builds into bigger results to ultimately determine a match and would be readily watchable for spectators. It becomes immeasurably more enjoyable for both participants and spectators alike, especially if a player were able to invite friends or family along to share in the contest, there would be a psychological gain for participants which would translate to more reason to improve their skill level.

I reckon you might end up with a real sporting contest that could match what other sports already enjoy (the good feelings players have when playing and the excitment generated when spectators watch), add the wider age group able to bowl and the additional numbers able to compete due to lower physical attributes, give your local bowling centre these new sales points, and you might find bowing becomes much more popular relatively quickly.

When bowling centres try to promote, one big drawback is many people say "I used to bowl in a league". The been there and done that syndrome is a huge obstacle to overcome. This single reason alone should be more than enough for Tenpin Bowling Aust, every Bowling Centre as well as all current players to unite to change the game as people know it.
Imagine if only 10% of ex players could be convinced to give this "new game" a try, how big would the shot in the arm be for all involved
Why don't u start this new sport, call it tennis-pin bowling. I'll stick to the original game but would try yours as an off shoot.
Why don't u start this new sport, call it tennis-pin bowling. I'll stick to the original game but would try yours as an off shoot.
the game itself doesn't change, you still throw the ball the same way , its only the format that changes and how many different formats of qualifying do you see on the pba or even our home tornaments.As much as it is a punch in the face mistagear makes some good points for the game.
To help understand why I say fundamental flaw in bowling now.
How interesting would the Aust Open Tennis be if,
If a player wins a rally in 1 hit, he/she scores 10 pts, plus the next 2 points they play. If he/she wins in 2 hits, then its 10 points plus whatever he scores in the next point. So now player A has a score going, but on the next point played, player B wins that point in two hits, now you have both players with a score going, but you cant tell who is winning because until you go about 10 points into the first game its really difficult to say for sure who is winning. The only time you can say for sure that one player is winning is when it's a terribly lop sided contest. It's all getting a bit boring so I decide to go to the canteen and come back when the exciting bit starts.
Ok, Im back from the canteen and we are getting close to the end of the first game, even then both players have this next shot bonus points going, its not until the very end that this close match is even remotely interesting.
I look across all the courts, and every match is unfolding the same, how long do you reckon it will be before I decide to not come and watch again or if I'm at home watching the TV, I switch to another channel before the next ad break.

What a hopeless sport this tennis is, they have all these people playing for days, most of the time not even the players have a clue who is winning, none of the matches are watchable enough to get interested in. Next year the organizers will have to install disco lights to bolster player interest and as far as spectators go, you may as well forget it.
In one year you could turn the prime time rated Aust Tennis into a wasteland, as devoid of sponsors, players and spectators as your local bowling centre is now.
G'Day All,

I do understand were mistagear is tying to go. I do believe that some of the points raised are valid.

The only time bowling gets on TV in the U.S is in the finals, it's step ladder and its over in one hour. The top five play off for the purse. The games phyisical layout makes spectators hard to atract. So, how does Tennis do it, it is not the way they score the game or the fact that one match goes for hours more than one game of bowling. The fact that you only get to see two player for a five hour, five setter should be enough to make you turn off the TV. On paper it is not that interesting.

Golf, less interesting on paper one round goes for how long? TV coverage is ball hit, look at a picture of the sky, then two people taking a stroll for a few hundred meters. Again not that interesting when you look at it that way.

Cricket is the same, 20/20 still goes for hours but the theatre again is built, the personalities involved again the prize.

It would have to come back to the theatre that the promoters build, the exitement given by the personalities in the game, and the way they really get into the game. I don't see tennis it's self as being that exiting. I would say that most of the people in the crowd tonight, at the Australian Tennis final have bowled at some point in their life, but never picked up a raquet.

So i look back at bowling. Still a game for every body at any time, does not need great physical strength or co-ordination to throw a game and have some fun with your mates.

Image that social bowler waiting for their mates to turn up, he sees a league going and every body is cheering each other and really having a great time. Having a beer with their league mates on the lanes. Looks inviting, would they join a league or come back again. Yeah probably.

Image that same person sitting there waiting for their mates, this time looking over a league with every body grumpy. No body smilling or looking remotely like they are having fun. likely hood of wanting to try bowling beyond social play, very unlikely. Even less likely to commit to a 60 week league.

So maybe we need to get the excitement going with the bowlers cheering each other along, shorter format leagues that are done in a school term and not ask for a one year commitment. Roll onto the next league in ten weeks tops. Run five game events for all league bowlers to compete in on the last weekend of the month, win bowler of the week and at the end of the month you get to bowl in a special event.

I think a lot can be done with out changing the very heritage of bowling. if we can change some of the culture to make it inviting, which would then stop the likes of commedians having a crack at bowlers and their reaction we might be able to help the centres sell the sport. if every bowler became a TBA member then maybe the TBA would have more fund to promote the sport.

Just some thoughts, nothing negatively natured and not intended to offened.

Thanks for reading.
Tennis epic tops TV ratings

Updated Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:51pm AEDT
More than 2.4 million television viewers stayed up until the early hours of the morning to watch Novak Djokovic be crowned the 2012 Australian Open champion.
The Serbian beat Spaniard Rafael Nadal in a five-set match.
Despite the match ending at 1.37am, 2.415 million Australians stuck it out until the presentation, making it the most-watched television program of the evening.
Seven blitzed its rivals with the tennis taking out the top six positions in the television rankings. The final lasted five hours and 53 minutes, the longest in Grand Slam history.
That was last year.2012.
My point, something kept them watching.
Are you suggesting merely watching a ball go back and forth across a net kept viewer's interest for the whole 5 hrs ? That is immeasurably more interesting than watching a ball knock pins down ?
Considering the large number of tennis events televised each year, are you suggesting there has never been a bowling Promoter of equivalent skill to that of the large number of successful tennis Promoters around the world ?
Could anyone currently watch 2 bowlers competefor 5 hours straight and truly be captivated as the tennis audience must have been, to keep watching well past midnight ?
Bowling has proven it can not hold peoples interest at any level, under it's current guise, would you prefer to keep heritage and continue to lose numbers until the sport is unsustainable ?
An example is Motor Racing, the premier category in Australia, Aust Touring Car Chmpship years ago was struggling to attract TV and therefore sponsors until a group came along (V8 Supacars) and convinced the governing body and participants to change the cars, the format and the way races were run. The net result, the same drivers/teams suddenly found willing TV and sponsors because the races were packaged with spectators in mind. With relatively small changes they now have a product that people want. Last year, the Company (V8SC) sold their 40% of the sport for $340m, previously it was worth virtually nothing.
Bowling could easily do similar as Jim suggested at the start of this thread before I hijacked the subject.
Attracting spectators is the answer !!!!!
In the 50yrs since I first bowled, no tournament or league format has ever succeeded in growing the sport for more than a fleeting nano second. In that same 50yrs I personally have seen thousands of league players lost to the sport, people who initially were keen to start a new sport. If bowling is entertaining at the beginning, why are so many lost ? How long does it take before the penny drops.
Thanks once again for your imput.

Let me say once again that i understand where you are coming from and the point you are trying to make.

Tennis has not changed really, or has it? They have found away to make it work through promotions. they dropped the gentlemen behaviour and allowed people to act in a way the felt. That photo above would have been forbidden 30 years ago.

I love my motor racing and turned off the V8 formula about 18 years ago as it was dominated by one sided rule to make one manufacturer win more events.

Again the promotors and organisers new that if a ford won, people would stop watching. But the cars are still racing, the racing is closer but the racing has not changed. Nascar is a classic for making it work.

It is not just about changing the sport but about changing the publics view of the sport. That needs to start with the bowlers and the centres.

Nothing shocked me more than to come back to bowling after 25years away and see the state of decline in the sport. One thing i see is that the sport losts it's strong governing body, it lost it's membership by making membership non-mandatory, and with that it became family entertainment for maybe a once a year thing to do.

There are a lot of other sports that bowling has to compete with that are a fraction of the cost.

No matter what happens for bowling to improve it will be a major up hill battle and with that battle we need to start at the grass roots.

Again mistagear, i truely get your point. More than you realise.
Bowling IS Bowling, the Game IS the Game we have
Tennis IS Tennis
Tennis Cricket Golf have HUGE sponsors that coverage on TV and promote products for them directly by Megastars of that sport
and they have become houshold names
Bowling Does Not have that and in reality never will, at that level

TBA were not permitted to put money into the Bowling show when asked, Why you ask !!!
Because the members dollars were already accounted for to do what is being done to administer the
sport , As is...
TBA would need to increase the membership costs to be able to contribute in a meaningful way to
ensure the Bowling show could continue.... People whinge plenty now about membership costs.

Reality is the cost of TBA membership is quite low compared to most other Sports !!!

Until ALL League bowlers become mebers the TBA will continue to work on a shoestring budget

The Game is very different today than 20 - 30 years ago and that is why people do not have the
same level of interest to go watch events..... Fred Hack averages 220 in league why go watch
Jason Belmonte bowl in a Tournament and ave 220

The Reason bowlers don't go and practice like we did 20 - 30 years ago is the cost of games !!!!
Cost of equipment updates

Also there are far more options today for people to do than go Bowling !!!!
Kids prefer to stay at home and get fat on the lounge playing video games

There is no easy fix, we just need to battle on

The comparison to Tennis is one that is never going to work for me. Tennis has a tradition that bowling doesnt, as such you are talking apples and oranges.

To be blunt and truthful, bowling will never be a popular spectator sport to the level of tennis or golf as it simply doesnt not have the following or appeal to the general public. There are many reasons why this is but the main one is that bowling sits in the same bucket as Putt Putt golf to pretty much everyone other than those who bowl today in a league or who have been brought up with bowling in their family.

Ive said it before that the link between "two games hot dog fries and a coke" with the lights off and league bowling is not affective. Our conversion rate of social bowlers to serious bowlers is poor, actually very poor and those that do convert are probably scared away by the 215 league avgs or the frowns they see everyweek when they walk into the centre when someone didnt lay the house shot for a week.
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