With one of the National Basketball Association’s most famed big men, Shaquille O’Neal, waiting backstage to make his keynote address at Bowl Expo’s General Session on June 21, Frank DeSocio revealed some big news: GoBowling.Com would become the Professional Bowlers Association Tour’s umbrella sponsor next season.
DeSocio, Executive Director of the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America, said the deal gives GoBowling.com “a full-year marketing platform to talk to bowlers and non-bowlers through the PBA Tour.”
While GoBowling.com will be the PBA Tour’s umbrella sponsor, it also will be the presenting sponsor of several individual events on the tour schedule, including the Chris Paul Celebrity Invitational and “one event at the World Series,” said PBA Tour Commissioner Tom Clark. GoBowling.com also will sponsor a yet-to-be-determined PBA League team. Additionally, the package includes GoBowling.com billboards and signage on PBA Tour shows, promotion of the PBA Tour at BPAA centers and paid Xtra Frame subscriptions for their proprietors “because we want them showing that in bowling centers all the time,” Clark said.
Nancy Schenk, BPAA President, explained that the sponsorship would kick into high gear leading into the World Series of Bowling, which begins Nov. 7 at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev., and that “there are considerations and options to expand the deal [beyond one year].”
Schenk praised the kind of cross-promotion this deal will deliver as mutually beneficial opportunity that will help the industry as a whole: “The more people go bowling, the more we all benefit. That’s what we’re looking to achieve.”
Asked if the agreement will create any new PBA Tour events or added prize money, Clark said, "The short answer is yes," but added that those details would be ironed out in talks to take place over the coming months.
The deal also provides Clark with critical leverage going into his October negotiations with ESPN ahead of the expiration of their five-year contract with the PBA next June.
“It shows that bowling is behind the PBA," he said. "That kind of industry unity is impressive to everybody.”
Clark said the looming expiration of that contract is the reason GoBowling’s umbrella sponsorship currently is a one-year deal. “We don’t know exactly what we would be getting the next year. We kind of agreed that we assume we’re going to re-up [the umbrella sponsorship].”