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14th Columbia 300 Vienna Open may be the last?

Is one of the most popular tournaments on the European Bowling Tour schedule, the Vienna Open, on the verge of being canceled? The 14th edition of the EBT “gold” tournament, which will be held Sept. 24 – Oct. 2, 2016, at Plus Bowling in Vienna, Austria, could be the last according to tournament director, Thomas Gross.

The Vienna Open, which made its debut in the year 2003, was a trendsetter in many ways. The tournament was famous for its hospitality, initiated a smoke-free environment long before it became the norm, signed a contract with Kegel to provide the highest standard in lane maintenance from 2003 until today, and certainly was renowned for its players’ party to be held in upscale locations.

Gross, a European champion and four-time European Bowling Tour titlist, including the Vienna Open title in 2009, who took over the job from Vienna Open founder, Wolfgang Lohschmid, in 2013, posted an open letter to explain the situation:

2016EBT10ThomasGross2Dear friends in Austria, Europe and all around the world.

It is pretty much decided, that this year’s Vienna Open will be the last one. We have around 120 participants now, way not enough to break even. Status quo, we probably hardly get to more than half of the prize funds/costs we will have/pay out.

To avoid a complete financial disaster for us, I ask the players, who think “not this year, but may be next year”, to decide to come this year.

I have the highest respect for everybody’s financial, familiar or working situation and I realize, that the time has come to stop this tourney.

And by the way, I am tired to bother everybody of you to come to Vienna, but I hope you understand, that this is “my job” as tournament director. A lot of competitors means a lot of competition and that is what we have always been looking for. A competitive tournament with challenging oil patterns and hopefully with a lot of the best bowlers from all around the world.

We organized this tournament with a lot of heart and never felt our hospitality as “work”. To serve the bowlers and try to have them have good and enjoyable days during their stay in Vienna was always our goal.

Let us have a great last tournament, hopefully with way more participants then now registered.

I thank everybody in advance, who now decides to come to Vienna, and I of course thank everybody, who already has registered.

Thomas Gross,
Tournament Director, Columbia 300 Vienna Open

However, for people who read the letter carefully, there might be some light at the end of the tunnel.
“Pretty much decided” doesn’t mean it’s written in stone yet. And though Gross told BowlingDigital, “I cannot see any chances for the Vienna Open in October”, there might be a chance for the tournament in the future, why not in a different month?

BowlingdigitalBannerFor the 14th consecutive year, Bowlingdigital.com will provide onsite coverage of the Columbia 300 Vienna Open commencing Thursday, Sept. 29, all the way through to the stepladder finals on Sunday, Oct. 2.

Click here for more information about the Vienna Open including online registration, schedule, format, prize fund, hotel information and more, or click here to read BowlingDigital’s tournament preview.

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Author: Herbert Bickel
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