NEW YORK–The Pro Bowlers Tour, a Saturday afternoon mainstay on ABC for years, is negotiating a new contract with the network. Its current contract expi" data-categories = "" data-popup = "" data-ads = "Yes" data-company = "[]" data-outstream = "yes" data-auth = "" >

ABC mulls if it should bowl another frame By Eric Schmuckle

NEW YORK–The Pro Bowlers Tour, a Saturday afternoon mainstay on ABC for years, is negotiating a new contract with the network. Its current contract expi

“In principal, it looks good,” said sports consultant Eddie Elias, who’s negotiating with ABC in behalf of the bowlers tour. “We expect to be back.”
One source believed ABC had passed and the tour was being shopped around. But both sides could have been posturing as a negotiating ploy.
Among the issues still on the table are the number of weeks (there are now 16 telecasts a year) and the amount of commercial time per show. “Reducing the ad inventory makes sense in this environment,” said O’Hara. And while bowling is clearly not a bloodbath on the order of football or baseball, a source close to the negotiation said ABC claims it is losing money on the contract now.
Like nearly all sports, bowling’s ratings have dropped in recent years. It has gone from the mid-4’s five years ago to a 3.5 today. The demographics are abysmal, with the biggest concentration by far in adults 55-plus. And bowling is decidedly downscale.
Still, the inventory has moved pretty well for ABC this year, report buyers, with scatter units fetching $10,000 to $12,000. “They only have a couple units a week,” said a buyer, noting that other winter sports like the N’BA and golf are tight. And the tour still attracts event sponsors including A.C. Delco, Quaker State, True Value, Anheuser-Busch and Firestone.
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