Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues

Posted by: RDubYa

Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues - 01/03/10 06:35 PM

In my area I am seeing the proliferation of unsanctioned leagues that run for 10 to 12 weeks. The league fees are much lower due to the absence of sanction costs and at the end of the 10 to 12 weeks, all participants receive a new ball or a $50 gift certificate to the house pro shop.

Do you have these where you live and do you think they are good for the sport?
Posted by: Avery

Re: Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues - 01/03/10 07:12 PM

I participated in two short season, unsanctioned leagues last season. They were both run by the house (no officers) and ended up being run so poorly that I avoid giving that house my business if possible. It was just something fun to do for me, my wife, and a friend of mine, but ended up being more frustrating than fun. Scores weren't kept correctly, standings were never right, averages weren't right, lanes were never turned on when they were supposed to be, envelopes weren't out, we never received awards, etc. Several times, the person at the desk had no idea that there was a league on that side of the house and we had to explain what was going on. I seriously question this house's management and ownership, but the owner for some reason got a lifetime achievement award from the BPAA last year (Rex Haney).

So, to answer your question on whether it is good for the sport, that depends. If the league is run well, and there are decent incentives, it can be fun for people that wouldn't otherwise bowl in a league. It may even convince people to join a full season league. If the league is run poorly, I think it is bad for bowling by turning away people.



Posted by: Atochabsh

Re: Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues - 01/03/10 07:13 PM

we have a lot of unsanctioned senior leagues that are full year leagues. But I don't see a lot of short unsanctioned leagues. Though I think its bad for USBC, its not bad for bowling.

Erin
Posted by: Calvin Pistorio

Re: Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues - 01/03/10 08:10 PM

I've bowled in similar merchandise leagues, normally during the summer. Actually my first few summer leagues were actually sanctioned even though they were just merchandise leagues. These leagues when ran right can be great for the sport. Sometimes these leagues are full of new bowlers, or long time bowlers that never bowled in a league. Some of those bowlers like it and can be recruited for sanctioned leagues.

Originally Posted By: Avery
we never received awards, etc. .


Just a quick question, if it was an unsanctioned league, what awards were you expecting other than whatever the end of season prize was?
Posted by: Avery

Re: Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues - 01/03/10 09:56 PM

Originally Posted By: Calvin Pistorio

Originally Posted By: Avery
we never received awards, etc. .


Just a quick question, if it was an unsanctioned league, what awards were you expecting other than whatever the end of season prize was?


Not USBC awards or anything like that. We were supposed to receive different prizes and awards from the house for team place, high game/series/average, etc.
Posted by: Dennis Michael

Re: Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues - 01/03/10 11:02 PM

Seeing more and more half season leagues around here. We have practice leagues that run for 2 months. $10 per week and you get a punch card for up to 40 free practice games in the month.

Some Club and Church groups are doing short seasons. And, we have the every other weekend leagues, too. Usually in the afternoons.
Posted by: MikeHL

Re: Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues - 01/03/10 11:41 PM

The Sunday-night league in which I bowled a few hours ago is short-season -- tonight was week 4 of 19 -- but it is sanctioned. A friend of mine back in Massachusetts who'd never bowled anything in his life, tenpin, candlepin or otherwise, joined such a league in 2007. He got an Ebonite Tornado through that league which he still uses sometimes, though it's mainly a Hy-Road for him now. This area doesn't have any unsanctioned leagues, and if those horror stories are par for the course, maybe it's for the best that we don't.
Posted by: ecub

Re: Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues - 01/04/10 01:57 AM

I bowl in an unsanctioned league in the summer (about 13 weeks), after our fall sanctioned league ends. I like to bowl and I need to work on my game. Plus our house runs the unsanctioned league without a hitch. It's basically just liked our sanctioned league, but without the extra cost.
Posted by: Atochabsh

Re: Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues - 01/04/10 08:33 AM

Quote:
It's basically just liked our sanctioned league, but without the extra cost.


Just some clarity for those new to USBC sanctioning. If you buy your card in September you are sanctioned through the next summer. So any summer league you bowl in, if sanctioned, you are already paid and in good membership standing. You should not have to buy anything extra to bowl in a summer sanctioned league providing you paid for your sanctioning that previous Sept.

Erin
Posted by: HughScot

Re: Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues - 01/04/10 01:00 PM

As someone new to bowling it sounds like a good idea to me. I now bowl in a sanctioned league. But many people would enjoy a shorter league, say ten weeks, as a way to get started and learn how league bowling works. I just went ahead and jumped in as nothing else was available. If it gets people bowling and eventually into sanctioned leagues I think the USBC benefits long term.

I also think weekend leagues would be great.
Posted by: Atochabsh

Re: Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues - 01/04/10 01:07 PM

Quote:
But many people would enjoy a shorter league, say ten weeks, as a way to get started and learn how league bowling works.


Agreed, many people would like a shorter league but the center doesn't want them. The center wants a season long committment of bowlers, lineage and therefore money. Most the reason why there are not more shorter season leagues is the center.

Erin
Posted by: HughScot

Re: Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues - 01/04/10 01:19 PM

Originally Posted By: Atochabsh
Quote:
But many people would enjoy a shorter league, say ten weeks, as a way to get started and learn how league bowling works.


Agreed, many people would like a shorter league but the center doesn't want them. The center wants a season long committment of bowlers, lineage and therefore money. Most the reason why there are not more shorter season leagues is the center.

Erin


Erin, this is so short sighted on the part of the owners. It's all about promotion of the product. I totally understand the center wanting long league seasons but they could limit the number of shorter leagues to just a few and advertise them to people beginning the sport. I have never seen an ad for bowling in my life and I'm well traveled. Very frustrating.
Hugh
Posted by: sk8shorty01

Re: Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues - 01/04/10 01:47 PM

Hugh, I think it is the same as many aspects of every day life that many people may not think twice about. There are contracts that are long term all across life that we never bother with complaining because we understand, yet for some reason leagues are different.

For instance, people who rent a house usually do not go with month to month renters because it is so much better to get that guaranteed yearlong paycheck.

Cell phones are typically at least a year long contract, few phone companies offer any time of monthly service without a prior contract unless you want to pay huge overages for the phone itself.

Satellite TV is a contractual service, typically in year long contracts.


Everybody is looking for that guaranteed money, its just so much easier on you. Think if you were running a lawn mowing business, would you rather have someone that said we want you here once a week for an entire year, you are guaranteed to be paid for that amount or multiple different people saying they will call you next time they need you? Running a business is all about earning money for the most part. Very few businesses are looking to just break even, its all about profit and success.
Posted by: B-Hammer

Re: Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues - 01/04/10 01:54 PM

I think there are a lot of newer bowlers like myself that find a standard league a bit intimidating but have enough interest in the sport that a shorter league designed to bring in new people would be just what they are looking for.

For myself what finally got me to try a short league were free practice games and knowing that some of the well liked employees were participating/running the league and would be there to help us out.

I don't think being sanctioned is a big deal to a new bowler as much as having a good experience. If that goes well then chances are they will look at a standard league afterwards.
Posted by: Atochabsh

Re: Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues - 01/04/10 01:58 PM

It might be short sighted, but that's the way it is. In the winter season especially, our center is full no open lanes available from 6 to 10pm. Only night you will find open lanes is Saturday night. We even have a Sunday night league that is 28 teams (32 lane center). All of these leagues are the entire winter season. So if the lanes are full with year long committments, what need does this center have to go to shorter league seasons?

In some of our newer and more expensive centers you will find open play during the evening hours during the week. But at $5/game. The center makes more off open play then they do league play. The contract for a league usually starts with cheaper lineage then open play. So if the center cannot get a year long committment they are not interested. They'd rather have open play. We even have centers here where they will arbitrarily cancel a day of league play if a corporate party books a day. So the contract is breakable as far as the center is concerned, but not breakable by the league. One center had a movie crew contract them during league season and they just cancelled their leagues for an entire week and made more money doing it.

We have problems booking centers for local tournaments because we cannot commit to a certain amount of lanes use.

Erin
Posted by: Kilgore Trout

Re: Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues - 01/04/10 10:25 PM

I bowl in a USBC sanctioned league that has three completely separate 16 week seasons 1) fall, 2) spring and 3) summer. So the commitment is only 16 weeks at any one time. Most of the league members bowl in the league all year round, but some bowl only the summer season (because their normal league for that night doesn't bowl during the summer). I think this works out very well.
Posted by: HughScot

Re: Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues - 01/05/10 10:00 AM

This is in reply to "Atochabsh, B-Hammer and sk8shorty01". As a successful business man for 40 years I do understand it is all about money. Nobody starts a business to break even or lose money. But what I see in this area is facilities that have plenty of available lanes a majority of the time. Naturally on Sat. night the lanes are all busy, but there is so much down time that needs to be filled. One lane invites schools to bring classes during the day and they have a lot of business.

If a center has a full compliment of regular leagues, no problem and no need to go to non-sanctioned leagues. I was speaking of the centers that are not so lucky.

And as a beginner I understand where "B-Hammer" is coming from as respects joining an established league, it can be intimidating.

It appears that Bowling activity varies greatly across the country. In some areas nothing needs tweaking and in others like mine it needs a total overhaul. The centers need updating badly, and that costs money.
Posted by: 10PinGaloot

Re: Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues - 01/05/10 11:26 AM

Originally Posted By: RDubYa
Do you have these where you live and do you think they are good for the sport?
What sport? This is a fun game. The sport is a separate animal.

I was in one of those leagues and am still using the ball they gave me. The folks were all beginners, and it was fun. Great fun.

Let's face it. Given the cost of real estate, you could make more money with a grocery store on the lot where your bowling alley is. They have to do something to make money. In Vancouver, we have a new bowling alley that's a "family fun center". Lots of arcade games and non-bowling activites. In fact, I think all of the bowling centers I've been to in the past 5 years have arcade games.

What I would do, if I owned a bowling alley, is put a red pin in every pinsetter during the off-hours during full-price open bowling. I guess there are about 20 pins in there, so the red pin would be the headpin once every 20 frames or so. Then I'd give folks a free game if they struck on the red pin. What will happen is that the random folks who come in during these times will get the bowling bug and come back again during those hours, and might eventually read some of the flyers that are prominently displayed showing leagues and fun-bowl nights.

Other gambling-style freebies would be good too. Like a "Vegas" league or "casino night". The reason I say this is - whether you want ot admit it or not - bowling is like gambling (in my case, more like a one-arm bandit). Very random. Getting better makes it less random, but how many times have you seen a pro lose on the final shot by leaving an unmakeable split? Or a little kid throw fifteen gutter balls and one strike?

When I win the lottery, I'll build a bowling center that's on the second floor, above the grocery store, so that I can pay the rent!

Also, I pretty much agree with everything Hugh said in both his posts.
Posted by: Atochabsh

Re: Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues - 01/05/10 12:26 PM

Keep in mind that some of that down time where you see the lanes empty are not desirable time slots of leagues. 3pm on Tuesday or Saturday at 4pm for example. So some centers do bus in special groups, like special needs youth, or seniors. And that downtime is why open play is so expensive for non league bowlers.

The updating on bowling centers is extremely expensive. Something like 40,000 a lane. Just relaquering the wood lanes (not cutting them) and doing the front 3 feet of approach is about $1500/lane. Heating and cooling is always an issue in older centers and its expensive. A lot of these older centers are barely making it as is, they cannot afford to remodel. For the smaller communities, I'd like to see some local charity events that would go towards fixing up the run down centers.
Posted by: HughScot

Re: Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues - 01/05/10 04:10 PM

The center were I bowl has 42 lanes and between 1 and 3 today was almost empty with only three people bowling. I've been there during the busy hours and still only 2/3 full. It might be better if they (AMF owned) shut down a dozen or so lanes to cut back on maintenance costs. Better to have 20 lanes in good shape than 42 in poor shape.
Posted by: Calvin Pistorio

Re: Unsanctioned Short Season Leagues - 01/05/10 04:33 PM

Well the lanes and machines are only "on" while being used. Sure some centers are rarely full at even when leagues are in there, but there isn't much that can be done but rotate lane usage so that the lanes get equal use and don't wear out as quick. It would be too costly to rip them out and covert the space. Plus who knows when having all 42 lanes will come in handy, maybe during a tournament, or maybe some league expand. Sometimes organizations will rent out the whole center for a night and need that many lanes.