South Point arena in Las Vegas to become a reality

by Bob Johnson 0

The United States Bowling Congress has added another western gambling hub to its rotation of national tournaments and events.

USBC, the South Point Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas Events and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority have announced a 12-year deal to host several annual USBC events — including the USBC Open Championships and USBC Women’s Championships — both citywide and inside a new, $30 million bowling tournament facility at South Point starting in 2013.

Over the course of the agreement, USBC will host seven “Championship” events inside South Point’s new facility, including the Women’s Championships in 2016, 2020 and 2022, and the Open Championships in 2017, 2019, 2021 and 2023.

There also will be more than 40 additional tournaments, conventions and short-duration events held in Las Vegas during the span of the agreement, including events such as the USBC Masters, Queens, Senior Masters and Team USA Trials.

“Las Vegas is excited to continue a partnership with the United States Bowling Congress that began four decades ago when we hosted the [Women’s International Bowling Congress] Championships,” said Rossi Ralenkotter, President/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “We look forward to strengthening the partnership over the next decade and becoming the premier destination for USBC events.”

The USBC, LVE and LVCVA are partnering with South Point to enhance this new agreement by building a permanent, world-class bowling tournament facility at one of Las Vegas’ premier tenpin destinations. Construction of the new arena at South Point is scheduled to begin in May. South Point’s current bowling center, which will continue operations, already is world-renowned as a host of top professional and amateur events, including the PBA’s World Series of Bowling.

The new tournament facility will include more than 60 lanes featuring the latest bowling technology, a tournament registration area, squad room, locker area and more.

“South Point already runs a premier bowling center where casual fans, amateurs and professionals from all over the world come to play the game they love,” said Michael Gaughan, owner of South Point. “This new bowling tournament facility we’re building with USBC will provide an unrivaled destination for bowling enthusiasts and add another dynamic element to attract visitors to South Point and Las Vegas.”

With participation estimates for the seven “Championship” tournaments taken into account, event organizers estimate that 27 percent of attendees will have the ability to stay at the South Point, while the remaining 73 percent will occupy rooms elsewhere in the city during events held for the duration of the agreement.

“We are extremely excited about our partnership with the USBC and South Point Hotel and Casino,” said Pat Christenson, president of Las Vegas Events ( “This would not have been possible without the commitment from Michael Gaughan to build a state-of-the-art bowling venue and the USBC’s commitment to host an unprecedented number of its events in Las Vegas.”

In 2009, the USBC Open Championships, held at Cashman Center in downtown Las Vegas, ran for a record 154 consecutive days from Feb. 21 to July 24, with 17,200 teams competing. The total estimated attendance for bowling participants and their travel parties was 292,750, with an average room stay of 4.3 nights and a non-gaming economic impact of more than $120 million.

Las Vegas also hosted the American Bowling Congress Championships in 1986. The WIBC Championships previously was held in Las Vegas in 1973 and 1983, attracting 9,644 and 14,430 teams, respectively.

“The creation of a new bowling arena as part of a Las Vegas casino will be an amazing experience for our bowlers to enjoy,” USBC Executive Director Stu Upson said. “This agreement required tremendous public and private support in order to come together. We look forward to seeing the construction of a great venue that will be a source of pride for the entire bowling industry.”

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.

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