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#146256 - 02/10/11 09:58 AM Where is the Money?
Dennis Michael Offline
Virtual League Champion

Registered: 12/11/05
Posts: 9820
A/S/L: M/Barrington, Ill
Sitting around after league with some pretty good bowlers, we started talking about which has won any money while bowling, this year. A few were regional, card holding PBA members. The rest of us were house bowlers in the top group in each league. Many of us bowl ABT and other tournaments around the area.

We didn't compare the merits of bowling pro versus amateur. But, we did compare the earnings and costs for each. Surprising to most was the fact that as a whole, those who were not PBA members, rolling in regionals, earned more money last year and spend less then the Pro bowlers did, with only 1 exception.

The majority of us non-pros, bowl in tourneys every 2 weeks, on average. The majority of us pay entrance fees up to $50 per event. $150 for weekend events with multiple shifts on Sat/Sun. All of which was far less then the pros had to pay for their regionals. Now, the monetary rewards were greater for wins in regionals, as one of the pros won a local regional, and won $3500. But, to do that, he had to travel 150 miles, stay the weekend in a hotel, eat and other incidentals. When he returned, he then had to split his leftover with his sponsor. He netted less then I won at a local tourney, and another bowler won on an ABT tourney. And we didn't drive 20 miles or have to split winnings.

As we further discussed, the amateur bowlers actually netted a lot more then the Pro bowlers did.

Seem far fetched??? What are your experiences?
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#146259 - 02/10/11 10:17 AM Re: Where is the Money? [Re: Dennis Michael]
DrAvery Offline
Bracket Donor

Registered: 06/02/10
Posts: 146
A/S/L: 33 M Seattle, WA
When you go pro and get a sponsor, don't they usually provide your balls and gear? That's gotta count for something, right?

[edit]Please don't read any sarcasm or insolence in that - that's an honest question.

Edited by DrAvery (02/10/11 10:21 AM)

#146261 - 02/10/11 10:55 AM Re: Where is the Money? [Re: Dennis Michael]
champ Offline
Virtual League Champion

Registered: 11/30/10
Posts: 2147
A/S/L: 32/M/AZ
From my understanding, you have to be a really good sport bowler to even think about covering your expenses in the PBA. One of my team mates is a regional PBA member, and he only does it to say he is a PBA member. He say the expenses are just fctored in as an expenisve hobby, and that he really has no hope of paying his expenses.
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#146270 - 02/10/11 12:13 PM Re: Where is the Money? [Re: Dennis Michael]
VFF57 Offline

Registered: 09/26/08
Posts: 1643
A/S/L: 50's/M/NJ

Here's a link with some info to that same very question:

There's probably got to be some tax (write-off) advantage to having a PBA card since it's considered to be a "profession".

Personally, I can't even imagine getting income from bowling since I tend to suck at tournaments. laugh
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#146273 - 02/10/11 12:53 PM Re: Where is the Money? [Re: Dennis Michael]
Atochabsh Offline
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Registered: 02/13/01
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Sponsership in bowling is very very rare. And when you are sponsered it doesn't mean that 100% of your costs are covered. Or that you have a choice of what ball to throw. This is for the tip top guys the ones you see on TV. Not the Regional PBAers. There is virtually NO sponsership for Regional PBA.

This is why you hear them say on TV during the broadcast, that X is Ys roommate when they travel etc...... They often drive together and room together to help defray costs.

Dennis, I'm not surprised at what you find. If you can hit 2 house or amature tournaments a month and cash in either placing and/or brackets you can add a few hundred to your wallet. But you have to be very good at adapting to different centers.

If you want to hit some of the big tournaments, then you really need to be very good indeed. For example, this week is the Masters in Reno. Also this weekend is a PBA Regional in Jackson CA, which is about an hour from me, and a couple hours from Reno. I'm betting that some of the bigger names, if they get knocked out of the Masters early enough to stick around and bowl Jackson. That means some of our purely local Regional guys might be in trouble this tournament. We'll see.


#146277 - 02/10/11 01:03 PM Re: Where is the Money? [Re: Dennis Michael]
Calvin Pistorio Offline
State Champion Contender

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 6283
A/S/L: 32/m/maryland
Do you know one of the main reasons Rhino Page turned pro and went on the Tour? It was because Team USA was going to start allowing bowlers from the PBA to join the team, and correctly guessed they would make up the majority of the roster at the big events. He was making a lot more money bowling the big buck amateur events, the ones that if you have a PBA card you can't even enter. There are a lot of great bowlers that could do well on the Pro Tour but don't want to deal with all the expenses they would have to put out week in and week out for a minimal return. Sure it can be a tax write off, but then they are away from their families most of the season. They can bowl the local tournaments and travel once in a while to the mega buck tournaments, plus still work a regular type job.
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#146281 - 02/10/11 02:23 PM Re: Where is the Money? [Re: Dennis Michael]
B-Hammer Offline

Registered: 04/19/09
Posts: 1818
A/S/L: 30/M/Bellingham WA
On the 13th frame they asked one of the better amateur bowlers Fero Williams why he didn't go pro, and his response is that he makes more by not being in the PBA.

On lets-talk-ten-pin they said something similar about Tom Smallwood on how it wasn't like he was just a league bowler when he turned pro, he was a regional player making some decent money that chose not to go any higher in order to make the most money. Things changed in the Detroit area to necessitate him looking for tournaments outside that area and so he went to a full membership.

#146286 - 02/10/11 03:52 PM Re: Where is the Money? [Re: B-Hammer]
ryanfeia Offline
Action Bowler

Registered: 10/19/10
Posts: 284
A/S/L: 26/M/Wisconsin
I think it's all pretty much been said, but when you can win an ABT event and cash for $800-$1,200 in a single tournament for only $60 entry, it's hard to pass all that up. Bowling on the regional tour would sure be something extraordinary, but there is a wealth of other ways to make some money other ways.
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#146299 - 02/10/11 07:33 PM Re: Where is the Money? [Re: Dennis Michael]
Dennis Michael Offline
Virtual League Champion

Registered: 12/11/05
Posts: 9820
A/S/L: M/Barrington, Ill
Erin, it is fairly common for a regional pro here to get sponsorship for entry fees, and a Pro Shop to sponsor for equipment, shirts and other. the fees sponsor splits the winnings after expenses are paid, and the Pro Shop passes equipment on at or near cost to the bowler.

As a non-pro, I and many others got reduced prices from the same Pro Shop, but entry fees were out of pocket. In fact, we bowled against many of the Pro Shop personnel.

ABT, and NABI were what I was talking about specifically, and we have seen an increase in participation the past year, which raises the payouts. Here is a recent pdf file of a local event.

What I am seeing is the non-pros are making about $300 per week on average. Not big money, but this was just from the guys I bowl with. the few pros haven't seen that much. Only 1 has won a regional, and placed in the money a few times. But, his sponsor split brought him down below some non-pros.

I know I am playing with others money for tournaments this year, and have a few extra to spend. I'm not in it for the money, but am thinking of increasing my participation.

And, thanks for the other links, guys. Interesting.
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