As it was mentioned above, approximately 70 million people bowl in the US at least once per year, making bowling one of (if not THE) biggest participation sports in the world. But, fewer than 2 million of those bowl in leagues, and maybe 10-20% of them watch bowling on TV
. This is why advertisers don't throw money at bowling. They get no exposure for their money. Even Geico, who has been probably the biggest sponsor of the tour these last several years, spends a lot more on their NASCAR team and other sports than they do on bowling. We have to make the sport attractive to sponsors, not just to the public, and the only way to do that is to show them they'll get a return on their investment. With the way the sport is in decline, that's an awfully tough sell for anyone. I have been in sales for a long time, and I've been tasked with selling products and services that many people didn't think they needed or wanted. Showing them the value in a product or service was the only way they would buy, and there really isn't much of a value in sponsoring the tour these days.
The folks on here all watch the tour when it's on TV
- that's pretty safe to say. Broadcasting the tour costs the PBA a lot of money, and it would probably be in the best interest of the tour to go dark for awhile, since production costs of the show eat up a lot of money that could be paid out to the winners. They already hold the World Series of Bowling in one venue to save on travel costs for the players and production team. We may tire of seeing the same people in the front row for weeks at a time, but without making this decision a few years ago, there wouldn't be a tour.
As far as the BPAA goes, I can't understand why they'd pull the plug on the 2015 Open. This tournament gets 400+ entries every year. They can't pull this together? Shame. I imagine someone could run this outside of the BPAA and keep it going.