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#76771 - 01/23/09 12:54 PM Fight the Decline in league bowling
shotcat Offline
Bumper Bowler

Registered: 01/22/09
Posts: 7
A/S/L: 47/m/mi/usa
I have been a bowling proprietor for over 25 years and have watched league bowling and USBC membership decline year after year. I have also seen big growth in open play, cosmic rock and bowl, birthday parities, companies, food sales, etc. But league bowling is still the backbone of the sport, and this industry, and nationally it is still in decline. There are a lot of reasons for decline, most of them are social, and the Internet is one of the reasons. We have been working on combining league bowling with the internet as way to put a little more relevancy and excitement in league bowling, something to help fight the decline. To make this concept work the format (handicap, verification, bowlers on a team, etc.) of the leagues should be developed from the input of bowlers from around the country. I put up a post about online leagues earlier today looking for thoughts and bowler input. I just looked back and the post has been removed, I suppose by someone who thought it was an advertisement, I can see how they might think that, but it was not the intent. As the last post said, “Just looking for ideas” to help Fight the Fight.

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#76794 - 01/23/09 02:56 PM Re: Fight the Decline in league bowling [Re: shotcat]
Dennis Michael Offline
Virtual League Champion

Registered: 12/11/05
Posts: 9807
A/S/L: M/Barrington, Ill
Shotcat, it is still in your recent posts, but not visible here.

Maybe the admins thought against other websites being posted that may be competitive to this one.
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#76797 - 01/23/09 03:20 PM Re: Fight the Decline in league bowling [Re: shotcat]
leftykev Offline
Virtual League Champion

Registered: 08/06/08
Posts: 329
A/S/L: Spokane, WA
This continues to be a topic of speculation, with no specific reasons for the decline. This is similar to the Movie drive-in theater decline. I realize this is a different topic, but they are related, in that bowling and drive-in theaters where family institutions 2 or more decades ago. There are still drive-in theaters, but the industry is almost non-existent.

Back to bowling...

Whenever my coworkers say, 'lets go bowling,' everyone is up for the idea, because it's a one time deal, and a one time expense. If I ask the same coworkers, if they want to join a league (winter or summer), they say no because they do not want the commitment that requires them to bowl 1 day a week, and pay 1 day a week, even if they don't bowl one week.

As you're pointed out, one time bowling events, like open play, parties, cosmic bowl are popular for just that reason. They are one time events, that don't require the commitment that drives the recreational bowler away from league play.

When I go to the bar, to enjoy some adult beverages and play darts, even though there are local dart leagues, doesn't mean I want to join a dart leagues, simply because I am there to enjoy a once in a while moment for recreation.

Even AMF is changing how bowling is preceived by converting their alleys (where appropriate) to their 300 bowling centers, which focus on the one time recreational bowler. It's an interesting marketing idea, which understands that times have changed and bowling centers can thrive by focusing on the recreational bowling. Is league bowling a thing of the past, like drive-in theaters? Yes and no. There will always be league bowlers.

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#76798 - 01/23/09 03:43 PM Re: Fight the Decline in league bowling [Re: shotcat]
VFF57 Offline
Legend

Registered: 09/26/08
Posts: 1636
A/S/L: 50's/M/NJ
Originally Posted By: shotcat
I have been a bowling proprietor for over 25 years and have watched league bowling and USBC membership decline year after year. I have also seen big growth in open play, cosmic rock and bowl, birthday parities, companies, food sales, etc. But league bowling is still the backbone of the sport, and this industry, and nationally it is still in decline. There are a lot of reasons for decline, most of them are social, and the Internet is one of the reasons. We have been working on combining league bowling with the internet as way to put a little more relevancy and excitement in league bowling, something to help fight the decline. To make this concept work the format (handicap, verification, bowlers on a team, etc.) of the leagues should be developed from the input of bowlers from around the country. I put up a post about online leagues earlier today looking for thoughts and bowler input. I just looked back and the post has been removed, I suppose by someone who thought it was an advertisement, I can see how they might think that, but it was not the intent. As the last post said, “Just looking for ideas” to help Fight the Fight.



Based on my personal experiences, people who are not true bowlers view bowling as a recreation where people get together to drink beer, eat and watch pins fall over. They don't think of bowling as a sport requiring skill and the right equipment which does annoy me at times. I think golf gets more respect than bowling. Hey, why not a golf or football birthday party where kids run around with footballs or golf clubs eating cake and all that :-).

I don't know what will turn that perception around. The decline in league participation by true bowlers may be due to people afraid of a long term commitment and the associated expense. Currently, I'm in two 35 week long leagues and I look forward to going every week. I will also join some summer leagues because I'm now at a point in my life where bowling is important to me again and the commitment doesn't matter. Most people don't think this way because they're not hooked on the sport of bowling. Yes, I called bowling a sport.
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#76805 - 01/23/09 05:00 PM Re: Fight the Decline in league bowling [Re: VFF57]
Scott Gannon Offline
Hall of Famer Contender

Registered: 10/30/06
Posts: 967
A/S/L: 51/M/California
While I like the 34 week league set-up it is just too long for some people. I think leagues that divide the Winter league up in 2 may have more success because many people just cannot make the committment to a 34 week league.

Also I think a lot of the problem is the people in the league. In my experience and it may not be like this in other houses but there always seem to be a few loaded teams who are out just to smash any competetion. Throw on top of it the fact they are always trying to bend the rules to get an advantage and it can make for a very bad experience. I am there just to try to do my best and like the league format but to many everyday bowlers this can make them sour on the league experience.

I think leagues where there is not too much difference in the prze money from 1st to last are needed so they do not become too competetive.


Edited by Scott Gannon (01/23/09 05:01 PM)
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#76885 - 01/24/09 12:53 PM Re: Fight the Decline in league bowling [Re: Scott Gannon]
TheDemolitionMan Offline
Virtual League Champion

Registered: 05/05/08
Posts: 2840
A/S/L: 23/Male/California, US
I think it is a whole mess of things that lead to the decline in league membership and whatnot.

First and foremost, people nowadays at least around my area are committment phobes. Case and point increase in dioverses and couples that stay together but aren't technically married.

Anyways back to bowling. The whole one time, one expense thing rings true from my viewpoint. And this purely based on the fact that in the two years that I've been competatively bowling, I've had three people on my teams quit on me. One was for monetary reasons, and he and I (I was the captain at the time) talked about it, found a replacement and he was on his marry way. The other two nothing, not a reason at all. They just up and quit.

A lot of people view bowling as recreation, like it was mentioned and lets face it. The equipment and training to play our sport isn't exactly cheap so I think that repels a lot of people as well. Plus it takes a bit longer to be an accomplished bowler (I would say 190+). It's not like playing defensive line (no offense to D-linemen, they have gotten me plenty of sacks in my time as a football player so I have great deal of respect for them), however Defensive linemen are stereotyped as being stupid (and occasionally it's true) so they're told to go here and hit this guy. The same can't be said about bowling, to be decent, you usually can't stand in one spot and throw the ball at one spot and get high scores. Sometimes that does happen but eventually you'll have to make adjustments. And most people don't want to take the time to learn all the different things you can do to be better. So going out, chucking a house ball for a few hours with friends and having a good time seems much more appealing than spending 200-300 dollars for equipment, lessons, and time to practice.
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#76887 - 01/24/09 01:32 PM Re: Fight the Decline in league bowling [Re: TheDemolitionMan]
Calvin Pistorio Offline
State Champion Contender

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 6283
A/S/L: 32/m/maryland
One of the biggest factors of the decline is money, especially with the current economic downturn. Many have to decide between necessities much less being able to afford to bowl especially when league fees will eventually go up, and some even cite the cost to sanction (I personally have no qualms with my current sanction fee and it's probably one of the highest including state and local).

That's not it though. There are other factors too. There are other activities to do that are also one time deals, or commitment free. Then there are the bowlers with kids that have their own activities that the parents need to take them to.

Some of the decline is also from not getting enough new bowlers into the mix including kids. With all the other activities for them to be in including other sports and playing video games as much as possible they don't see bowling as a serious activity.

In reference to the original post, I see it more as a way to get word out of this new site and not really talking about the issue in the topic title. A online league has no relevance with fighting the decline in real league bowling.
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#76910 - 01/24/09 06:21 PM Re: Fight the Decline in league bowling [Re: Calvin Pistorio]
shotcat Offline
Bumper Bowler

Registered: 01/22/09
Posts: 7
A/S/L: 47/m/mi/usa
Re your last paragraph, that online league bowling is not relevant to league bowling. While that is technically true the same logic would say, side pots, brackets, King of the hill, strike tickets, cards (getting cards for a strike or a spare), and a host of others have no relevance league bowling. Technically that is again true.
But across the country on any league night there are hundreds of thousands of league bowlers playing these little games. (that use league scores just like the online thing we’re talking about) If all those side games were taken away all those bowlers would have a little less excitement, competition, or fun, and it would take away from the overall experience of real league bowling.
Over the last 20 years USBC ABC WBC membership has declined over 40% as has league bowling. As far as the topic title I can see how you might think that, as there is no way you would know where I was coming from. I’ve been a proprietor for a long time and this is a fight a lot of us have been fighting.


Edited by shotcat (01/24/09 06:30 PM)

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#76911 - 01/24/09 06:40 PM Re: Fight the Decline in league bowling [Re: shotcat]
leftykev Offline
Virtual League Champion

Registered: 08/06/08
Posts: 329
A/S/L: Spokane, WA
Originally Posted By: shotcat
across the country on any league night there are hundreds of thousands of league bowlers playing these little games. (that use league scores just like the online thing we’re talking about) If all those side games were taken away all those bowlers would have a little less excitement, competition, or fun, and it would take away from the overall experience of real league bowling.


What you are talking about is already online at Virtualtournments.com and VirtualLeagues.com These website attract league bowlers from all over the united states. I missed entering the current virtual league, but I regularly enter the virtual tournaments, and cash regularly.

Unless I'm misunderstand your idea, it might help if you outline your online idea.

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#76915 - 01/24/09 07:23 PM Re: Fight the Decline in league bowling [Re: leftykev]
shotcat Offline
Bumper Bowler

Registered: 01/22/09
Posts: 7
A/S/L: 47/m/mi/usa
I’m not sure how much information I can post here without being having the post taken down. We are looking for ideas and suggestions for online league formats.
The online leagues we are talking about would be short session (4weeks), cheap ($3.00 per week), and have various formats. My original post was asking for thoughts and ideas for the formats, handicap, bowlers on a team, length of session, etc. was taken down I suppose because someone thought it was a advertisement. Again if anyone has any thoughts for this type of league, get back to me.We are aware of virtualleage. com.

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