Monday, March 22, 2010

Should and Could the PBA Find Another TV Network?

"ESPN is awful... can't believe you wouldn't stick around long enough to see his reaction after he threw his last ball... For his first title you cut to commercial, that's brutal. No wonder bowling can't seem to gain a big fan-base let alone bigger sponsorship, even ESPN didn't see that as a broadcast worthy moment."
--Patti, commenting on PBA website

I wasn't able to watch yesterday's PBA title match live the way I usually do. But I recorded it with my DVR and watched it soon afterward. The final game finished later than it was supposed to, I set my DVR to record for only the 90 minutes for which the show was scheduled, and so I missed the very end of the tournament.

But I've since read that, because the program ran over its allotted time, ESPN didn't show the final frame or allow fans to see Brian Kretzer react to his victory. A lot of people on the PBA website and presumably elsewhere are angry about that. Here's what one disgruntled person named Michael wrote:

"Both ESPN and the PBA need to decide once and for all what they want to do. They run over so much so often - it is ridiculous. However so does Monday Night RAW for WWE. What does USA do? They show it til the end. 11:05, 11:06, 11:10pm, doesn't matter. We see the main event in full and that is for wrestling. Bowling seems to get disrespected because even the network doesn't respect it. If the PBA doesn't have an 'over-run' clause in their contract with ESPN, I'd say ditch ESPN and put the PBA on Spike or USA or something.
ESPN is a disgrace and the PBA should sue them if possible for damaging the PBA product week-in and week-out."

I agree with Patti and Michael that ESPN sure doesn't seem to give bowling the respect it gives other sports it carries and that this can't be good for the PBA. However, I'm not sure the PBA could find any other network to carry it and do a better job with it than ESPN does.

Would USA take it on, or Spike? And if either of them would, would they attract more viewers than THE sports network, ESPN? What do you think?


  1. Remember the PBA pays for ESPN's air time. So they are just doing what the PBA pays them to do.

    They do the best they can with the little sponsor money received.

    I'm more upset Xtra Frame (the pba's own subscription service) did not have it up for review as of last night. Guess I'm getting what i pay for. They even FORCE you to join facebook to interact witha PAID service.

    Congrats to Brian. Long over due.

  2. Here's another thought: once upon a time, WELL BEFORE the 25-second shot clock, the PBA always managed to get everything done well within their alotted 90 minute time slot and, more often than not, was able to show the trophy presentation AND give the sponsor some face time AND give the winner a chance to thank the sponsor and host center and such. They accomplished this by bowling through when they knew they were behind and cutting away early when matches were decided well before the 10th frame. Today the sporting contest being televised has to yield to the fluff (fan questions, in-match interviews, pre-match introductions that have already been made by the TV announcers for the home audience and by the live announcer for the live audience); it should be the other way around!

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: today's production people and tournament directors need to take a long hard look at the shows that were produced in the 1980's and recognize what those production people did right--on ABC, ESPN, and on NBC.

    As for the grand scheme (again, at the risk of repeating myself)...the PBA needs to demand more respect of ESPN. The PBA needs to press ESPN to tell them what it will take for the PBA Tour to rate regular mention on SportsCenter with the same reverence as golf, tennis, cricket, and the English Premier League (soccer).

  3. If they arent going to show the end of an event and see the winners reaction holding the trophy, why even bother putting it on tv? Seriously ESPN, shame on you!

  4. I think you all make good points, even if they conflict. I'm not sure exactly how the PBA and ESPN work together to bring us the broadcasts, but I agree that the PBA could tighten their coverage the way ABC did AND that ESPN could be more lenient on occasional overages and make sure that it shows the closing frame(s" and the champion's triumph. It could accord bowling more respect in other ways. But I don't see that happening anytime soon with the macho sports mentality that seems to rule that network. Those guys probably see bowling as a sissy's game and not even as a sport.