PBA SIGNS MULTI-YEAR DEAL WITH FOX SPORTS

As first reported in a special BJI Cyber Report on Monday, the Professional Bowlers Association and FOX Sports have entered into a multi-year, multi-platform agreement, making FOX Sports the new television partner for the Go Bowling! PBA Tour starting in 2019.

The package will bring a substantial schedule of live PBA events to television, including prime-time events and a new bracket-style, multi-week PBA Playoffs tournament that concludes with a unique PBA championship finale.

The announcement was made by PBA CEO and Commissioner Tom Clark, and William Wanger, FOX Sports Executive Vice President of Programming, Live Operations and Research.

“The PBA has been searching for the best possible broadcast partner to serve our fans, players and the bowling industry, and we have determined that partner is FOX Sports,” Clark said. “We are particularly excited that the PBA Tour returns to broadcast television, where it started 56 years ago, with shows on FOX next year.”

In 2019, FOX Sports will televise four PBA Tour shows on FOX and 25 on FS1 in a series of two-hour telecasts. All programs also will be streamed on FOX Sports GO. Details pertaining to the FOX Sports-PBA package regarding PBA Tour locations, dates and times, as well as the television announcing team, will be released at a later date.

“FOX Sports is thrilled to add the highly rated PBA Tour to our extensive lineup, joining other sport partners including the NFL, the FIFA World Cup, MLB, NASCAR, MLS, UFC, NHRA, Supercross, USGA, college football and basketball, and others,” said Wanger. “We believe that adding a FOX Sports look and feel to bowling will help bring the sport to a whole new level.”

The PBA was represented in the transaction by Ed Desser of Desser Sports Media.

The agreement between FOX Sports and the PBA extends a non-stop television presence for professional bowling that began in 1962 with ABC Television’s 36 years of continuous coverage of the Pro Bowlers Tour and 38 consecutive years of coverage on ESPN, beginning with ESPN’s formation in 1979.

Listen to BJI Editor Gianmarc Manzione’s podcast — in which Clark discusses the PBA’s decision to leave ESPN after so many years — here: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/bji-podcast-pba-ceo-tom-clark-on-leaving-espn-for-new-deal-with-fox/.

Both the PBA and FOX Sports plan to supplement the broadcast and cable coverage of the PBA Tour’s premier events with live-streaming of preliminary rounds by PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel, as well as extensive use of the FOX Sports and PBA Network outlets including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and their respective websites.

In case you’re not familiar with FOX Sports, it is the umbrella entity representing 21st Century FOX’s wide array of multi-platform U.S.-based sports assets. Built with brands capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, FOX Sports includes ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple websites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing partnerships.

FOX Sports includes the sports television arm of the FOX Broadcasting Company; FS1, FS2; FOX Sports Regional Networks, their affiliated regional websites and national programming; FOX Soccer Plus; FOX Deportes and FOX College Sports.

In addition, FOX Sports also encompasses FOX Sports Digital, which includes FOXSports.com and FOX Sports GO. Also included in the Group are FOX’s interests in joint-venture businesses Big Ten Network and BTN 2Go, as well as a licensing agreement that established the FOX Sports Radio Network.

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