Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pba Tour May Face TV Blackout

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pba Tour May Face TV Blackout

Article excerpt

The Professional Bowlers Association Tour, already troubled by dwindling popularity, has another cloud on its horizon.

A big piece of bowling history is on the line as PBA officials are negotiating a new TV contract with ABC Television.

Word at bowling's national convention in Reno this week is that ABC has sold all its time slots on Saturday afternoons to RayCom Sports for college basketball coverage.

That would mean the end of Saturday afternoons with ABC, Chris Schenkel and Nelson Burton Jr.

The PBA's winter tour, its premier series of events, usually runs from January to April. Of the 15 events this year, 14 are in the familiar Saturday time slot fans are accustomed to.

The PBA does not want to push back its winter tour to start in April, fearing a further loss of viewers. Ratings are said to be down more than 60 percent from 20 years ago.

"If we pass on this offer from ABC, we would have to see what other options are out there," said Kevin Shippy, PBA spokesman.

Brunswick is the primary sponsor of the PBA Tour, and officials in Reno this week were anxiously awaiting word on any TV deal.

"Obviously, January, February and March are very important months for the sport of bowling," said Jim Otterstrom, a Brunswick vice president. "We will do everything we can to bring bowling to the public."

If that public will still be there when the sport jumps to another network or is shifted to later in the year remains to be seen.

Reno Report:

The American Bowling Congress inducted five new members into its Hall of Fame on Thursday night:

Greg Griffo, 84, who competed in his 59th ABC Tournament this week, and had the highest league average in Syracuse, N.Y., for 30 years.

Tommy Tuttle, of King, N.C., who was a standout on the PBA tour in the 1960s.

Al Matzelle, of Milwaukee, who helped plan and organize the Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Louis and was a longtime ABC official.

Rev. Charles Carow, Brooklyn, N.Y., who died in 1970 at age of 68, but was a primary force in getting the"Caucasians only" rule removed from ABC membership requirements.

Hiroto Hirashima, of Kaneohe, Hawaii, who in 1962 was the first minority named to the ABC board of directors. …

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