Cyber Report #994

E-dition No. 994 • Breaking News • Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Editor: Bob Johnson (


PBA Signs Deal With FOX, Will Leave ESPN


The Professional Bowlers Association is parting ways with long-time television partner ESPN, and has entered into a new agreement with FOX Sports, Bowlers Journal International has learned.


The multi-year, multi-platform agreement, which begins in 2019, calls for four PBA Tour telecasts on FOX and 25 on Fox Sports 1 during the first year. There also will be streaming on FOX Sports GO, and visibility on other platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and


FOX was launched in October of 1986, joining the “big three” networks — ABC, CBS and NBC. Early shows, including “The Simpsons” and “Married With Children,” were intended to carve out a niche with a younger demographic. During the 2007-08 season, fueled in large part by the “American Idol” singing competition series, FOX surpassed the “big three” in total viewership.


When FOX acquired rights to televise National Football League games in 1994, it formed its FOX Sports division. Its NFL broadcasts have a distinctive look, sound and feel, and those qualities are expected to become a part of the PBA’s telecasts.


FOX Sports 1 (better known as FS1) is FOX’s cable sports network, which airs everything from Major League Baseball to Major League Soccer. Rob Stone, who formerly called PBA telecasts on ESPN, is FOX Sports’s lead studio host for soccer, college football and college basketball programming. BJI could not confirm whether Stone would be a part of the bowling broadcast team on FOX.


FOX network television coverage for some telecasts reflects the PBA’s heritage, as “Pro Bowlers Tour” was featured on ABC from 1962 to 1997. There also was a “one-off” telecast of the PBA Tournament of Champions on ABC in 2011. The PBA also was a cable pioneer, as it provided some of the early programming that aired on ESPN when that cable network debuted. This is the PBA’s 38th season on ESPN.


The PBA still has six shows remaining on ESPN and five on CBS Sports Network this year.


Specific information regarding broadcast dates and times on FOX and FS1 are expected to be announced soon. Updates will be provided as information becomes available on, BJI’s Facebook page and the BJI Twitter feed.



* CONTACT: Please send business news, event information, etc. to Bob Johnson at For breaking business news, visit or, and “Like” Bowling Center Management and Bowlers Journal International on Facebook. BJI Cyber Reports are now archived at


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