Sunday begins a new era of professional bowling on television when Fox Sports debuts its PBA coverage with the PBA Clash at 4:30 p.m.
The Clash is a special showcase event featuring eight of the Tour's top stars and is part of a 90-minute special that will preview the 2019 Fox PBA Tour series. Four of the PBA Tour shows in 2019 will be on Fox and 25 will be on FS1, Each show will be a two-hour telecast. They also will be streamed on FOX Sports Go.
The new TV package was negotiated by Tom Clark, a Buffalo State graduate who is commissioner and chief executive officer.
Fox succeeds ESPN as the television partner of the PBA Tour. The Tour was shown on ABC for 36 years starting in 1962 and then on ESPN for 38 years, beginning with the network's inception in 1979.
Held at the Kegel Training Center in Lake Wales, Fla., the PBA Clash is hosted by Rob Stone, with longtime PBA analyst Randy Pedersen and reporter Kimberly Pressler.
The $25,000 winner-take-all single-elimination competition features Jason Belmonte, Anthony Simonsen, Dom Barrett, Andrew Anderson, EJ Tackett, Marshall Kent, Stuart Williams and Jakob Butturff. Profiles of the eight players are planned along with the announcement of the 2018 Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year and the Harry Golden PBA Rookie of the Year and a preview the coming season.
The 2019 PBA Tour will kick off with the Hall of Fame Classic finals from the International Training and Research Center in Arlington, Texas, at 11 a.m. on Jan. 6 on Fs1.
Ryan Ciminelli of Clarence and Brad Angelo of Lockport are the only Western New York bowlers entered in the Hall of Fame Classic, according to the latest tournament roster. The only women entered are Danielle McEwan of Stony Point and Daria Pajak of Poland.
Among the most anticipated highlights of the new broadcast arrangement is the debut of Specto StrikeTrack feature. ike football after instant replay, bowling on television might never be the same.
Developed by Kegel, Specto’s StrikeTrack will give viewers a live trace of the ball as it rolls, as well as calculations of the ball speed, location and revolutions per minute (RPM) and other features.
“I’ve never seen anything like it," Pedersen said in a news release. "This lets the viewers see where the ball is going down the lane, the speed, power, and how it impacts the pins and why that resulted in a strike or not. It really helps quantify my analysis.”
The new technology is similar to what Fox introduced in 2015 for golf with FlightTrack.
The broadcast schedule includes the four PBA major championships: the PBA Tournament of Champions on Sunday, Feb. 10, from suburban Akron, Ohio; the PBA Players Championship on Sunday, Feb. 17, from Columbus, Ohio; the PBA World Championship on Thursday, March 21, from Allen Park, Mich., and the United States Bowling Congress Masters on Monday, April 1, from Las Vegas.
League Officers tournament
The official results are in for the Greater Buffalo USBC Association's League Officers Tournament, which wrapped up two weeks ago at Spare Time Bowling Center. Some of the area's best bowlers, who also serve as league officers, participated.
Kevin Volker was the overall winner of the handicap event with a score of 854. Paul Bauer was second with 840. Tony Dolan, the 2015 Obenauer Masters champion, was third with 826. Richard Hapeman, a 2012 GBUSC Hall of Famer inductee, was fourth with 817. Greg Merkle, the current GBUSBC presidne was fifth with 784.
There were 112 entries, an increase over the 101 who competed the year before and 89 entries in 2016.
College bowling surges
College bowling is increasingly becoming the source of the professional tour's talented newcomers. Two major collegiate events for both men and women were held this week in Las Vegas, and perennial powers triumphed.
The Wichita State women and Webber International (Fla.) men claimed the top spots at the 2018 Collegiate Shoot-Out, a Tier I event held at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino. The 27 women's and 36 men's varsity teams bowled six traditional games Wednesday and concluded competition Thursday with 16 Baker games.
The Wichita State women captured the first-place trophy for the ninth consecutive season.
The Webber men claimed the top spot at both the Collegiate Shoot-Out and Glenn Carlson Las Vegas Invitational, which took place Monday and Tuesday at the nearby South Point Bowling Plaza.
The Warriors completed the sweep by finishing with a 9,481 pinfall total.
St. Francis-Illinois' Abby Ragsdale (1,268) and Webber's Matt Russo (1,422) earned the top individual honors Wednesday, posting the highest six-game totals in the women's and men's divisions, respectively.