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Up Front


“I” In Team Give the Professional Bowlers Asso-

ciation credit. Fighting for attention in today’s sports landscape on a shoestring budget requires risk and creativity. Risks like the PBA League, which is

roughly halfway through its fi rst season. Hardcore bowling fans have long

IT’S GOOD TO BE KINGS /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

PBA League gets underway, with Billie Jean King’s New York WTT KingPins in front. After three rounds, the Professional

Bowlers Association League standings (also known as the Elias Cup Points Standings, because the PBA has a bowling legend’s name tagged to virtually everything!) show the mighty New York City WTT KingPins in fi rst place, closely followed by the Motown

Muscle and BROOKLYN STyLES. The lowly Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits are in last place, trailing the KingPins by a whopping 28 points. Please don’t ask how each team reached

their place in the standings. The system that determines who advances to the step-

ladder matches in each round (pin totals from the corresponding PBA Tour events, as well as the maddening Clash Eliminator) would test the MIT math department. Still, the bowling has been entertain- ing and the Baker format makes for great CONTINUES ON NEXT PAGE

reminisced about the sport’s storied team era, but the PBA’s launching of a professional sports league had little to do with riding the nostalgia craze. Sure, the PBA League is about com- petition, but more importantly, it is about broadening the sport’s base and appeal. At best, a league on its own merit would have generated lukewarm interest outside bowling circles. But at- tach celebrity names to the teams, and have those celebrity owners use their long reach to spread the bowling gos- pel, and the sport reaches millions of casual sports fans who, in the past, have paid little attention to bowling. Those same fans, however, pay plenty of at- tention to their favorite celebrities. Case in point: The PBAL’s eight team

owners (Billie Jean King, Chris Paul, LaMarr Woodley, Terrell Owens, Jesse Williams, Chris Hardwick, Kevin Hart and Jerome Bettis) boast more than 22 million Twitter followers among them. The added bonus for the PBAL is cre-

ating airtime for as many bowling pros as possible.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// ////////////////////////////////////// February 2013 7

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