In recent years, the PBA has moved away from mostly live shows on television in an effort to curb costs.
While it’s understandable the PBA is trying to remain financially viable, broadcasting the finals of events on a tape-delayed basis has been a sore point for many hardcore bowling fans.
Pictured right is the author, Lucas Wiseman, who has covered bowling events around the world for more than a decade. You can follow him on Twitter at @Lucas_Wiseman.
Over the weekend, the PBA took a tremendous step to solve that problem when the four “animal-pattern” shows were broadcast live on ESPN3, available online through WatchESPN. The shows will also be broadcast over ESPN on a tape-delayed basis this month.
A lot of credit must be given to PBA Commissioner Tom Clark (pictured above. Photo Randy Gulley.) for solving this problem and giving bowling fans what they want. The PBA’s Xtra Frame live streaming service is thriving, and those fans get to watch qualifying and match play live, but when it came time for the finals, they always had to wait.
By taking the extra step of broadcasting the finals on WatchESPN, bowling fans can find out in real time who wins the tournament instead of reading spoilers on social media.
Some fans were confused by how to find ESPN3, leading to complaints about how it was only available online. These complaints proved one thing – some people will complain no matter what.
Personally, I streamed the shows from my iPhone direct to my TV hooked up with Chromecast. The quality was an incredibly crisp, HD picture, and if you didn’t know any better, you’d think it were being broadcast on television.
As for the shows from the World Series of Bowling at Reno’s National Bowling Stadium, most were interesting and compelling.
The animal-pattern shows used a format that had the four TV finalists bowl one game at the same time with the top two advancing to bowl for the title. Having four players bowl at once creates constant action and keeps fans engaged and interested.
There were some issues, however. The cameras showing the bulk of the action were too high, which is a common problem at the National Bowling Stadium, and you couldn’t see the top of the pins. The zooming by the cameraman was also a bit aggressive.
But when it’s all said and done, the WSOB was a spectacular success for the PBA, and I applaud Clark for his efforts to make the shows available live for us hardcore bowling fans. Let’s hope it continues in the future.