UPDATE #2: Jim Doty, General Manager of Royal Pin Leisure Centers in Indianapolis, said he was “disappointed and shocked” by the PBA’s decision to pull the 2014 Tournament of Champions out of Royal Pin’s Woodland Bowl.
But he quickly added that he understood the reason for the move, and “holds no ill will toward the PBA. Sometimes you have to do things that you don’t want to do,” he said.
Woodland Bowl is one of the longest tenured PBA Tour hosts, and a favorite stop of many players. Some of the game’s biggest stars, including Walter Ray Williams Jr., Pete Weber and Jason Couch, have won multiple titles there. Beyond that, it’s a venue that actually makes money when it hosts a tour stop.
“I know a lot of center owners stepped away from the PBA because they couldn’t justify the expense in hosting a national tournament,” Doty said. “But we’ve always made money — not a lot, but it has never been a drain on our resources. When you run it right, [a tour stop] can be a money maker.”
Doty said that most of his disappointment stemmed from the fact that Royal Pin’s youth league bowlers would not have a pro-am in which to compete. A youth pro-am entry is included in the company’s youth league benefit package.
Royal Pin also had been promoting the event’s adult pro-am and selling local sponsorships, and now will have to issue refunds, Doty said. All ticket sales to date had been processed online by the PBA, and Doty said those refunds would come from the PBA.
“I look at this as a wake-up call for the industry,” Doty says. “We all need to get behind the PBA Tour, because without a pro tour, it will impact the entire industry. We have more high school bowlers and more collegiate bowlers than ever before, and there needs to be somewhere for them to go when they’re out of school. There needs to be a pro tour for them to aspire to.”
Doty added that when the PBA begins working on its calendar beyond this spring, he’d welcome an opportunity to bring the tour back to Woodland Bowl.
“We go way back with the PBA,” he said. “Hopefully, this is just a bump in the road.”
Earlier today, PBA Commissioner Tom Clark acknowledged that the change in venue and dates was related to the PBA’s budget for 2014. That story is here: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/?p=8410
The initial report on the move, posted earlier this morning, is here: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/?p=8408
— Bob Johnson