Cyber Report #1044

E-dition No. 1,044 • Friday, February 15, 2019

Editor: Bob Johnson (bjibob@aol.com)

Industry Leaders Remember Mark Voight

Mark Voight had some time to put his affairs in order prior to his passing on Monday (Cyber Report No. 1,043), and that included making sure the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America would be able to start seeking a successor for his treasurer’s seat on the BPAA Board of Directors.

That selfless gesture enabled the association to do some research, and be able to put forth a replacement candidate for the treasurer’s position this June at the BPAA Annual Meeting during International Bowl Expo in Las Vegas.

Mark was one of the best men I have ever met,” said Nancy Schenk, immediate past President of the BPAA. “His love for our industry and his family was unparalleled. To our industry he was our historian, treasurer, teacher and mentor, all of which will be greatly missed.

However, what I will miss most about Mark was his great smile and laugh,” added Schenk, operator of B&B Bowling Lanes in Fayetteville, N.C. “It was a whole body laugh that only made you smile more. His smile and words of encouragement to me were always a highlight of my time with him.”

BPAA Vice President Jim Decker of Double Decker Lanes in Rohnert Park, Calif., said, “The passing of Mark is not only a great loss for his family, but also for the bowling community. He was a leader and mentor to many of us in the industry. He had great wisdom and the ability to communicate his thoughts in a simple way that we all could understand. He will be dearly missed.”

Kevin Krauss, proprietor of Seminole Lanes in Seminole, Fla., and Secretary of the BPAA, said, “Mark was usually the smartest or one of the smartest people in the room whenever I had the privilege to work with him on a project. He had a common-sense way of getting his message across, and I will tell you that was really always a pleasure to see.”

Two men who knew Voight well over an extended period of time are Mark Martin, Association Manager of the Metro Detroit USBC, and Sandy Hansell of The Hansell Group.

I’ve known Mark for over 30 years and we had a great business relationship,” Martin said. “Always the businessman, he also was very generous with the bowling charities that the Metro Detroit USBC supports. He was a huge supporter of our television show, ‘Bowling Showcase.’ I could always count on him if I had a business need, as he could always count on me if he had an association need. I will miss him dearly.”

Hansell said that Voight was “more than just a proprietor. He was a bowling industry statesman. What made him unique was that he always thought — and acted — beyond the confines of his own business and worked long and hard to benefit the industry as a whole.

Although he had a full plate running his many centers, he always took the time and made the effort to serve on countless industry committees, actively promote youth bowling nationally, support the PBA, serve BPAA as an officer and director, and much more. The entire bowling industry is better off today because of his work.”

While Voight was known as a savvy businessman, he also was admired for his love of family. He and his wife, Diane, celebrated many wedding anniversaries at Bowl Expo, including their 50th last year in Las Vegas.

His love for his family was evident,” Schenk noted. “You only had to be with him a few minutes before he would brag on his children and grandchildren. I will always remember his reaction at last year’s Summit when I announced Diane was receiving the President’s Award. Tears of joy and pride filled his eyes and he was the first one on his feet. I won’t ever forget Mark — a man who lived life by loving what he did and everyone in it to the fullest.”

Krauss described the Voights as “a wonderful couple inside and outside of bowling. We will be best served by what we can do to make sure we live up to the great examples they both set.”

BPAA President Randy Thompson attended Voight’s services, and afterward told the Cyber Report, “The bowling industry has lost a great leader, member and friend. Mark and Diane have been passionately committed to the success of bowling and BPAA.”

Belmo Signs New Deal With Storm, Seeks Record 11th Major

Four-time PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte has signed a multi-year deal with Storm Bowling Products that the company is calling “historic.”

I started my professional and my amateur career with Storm 18 years ago, and I’m extremely grateful to Bill [Chrisman] and Dave [Symes],” said Belmonte, referring to the company’s co-founder and president, respectively. “I’m looking forward to continue working with this company for many more years.

Inking a deal with a company that holds similar values to me and that prides itself on creating the best equipment on the market is something that I don’t take for granted.”

The 35-year old joined the PBA Tour in 2008 and became the first two-handed player to win a PBA Tour title. He has notched 19 titles, including 10 major championships, following his victory in the 2019 PBA Tournament of Champions on Sunday.

This week, Belmonte is off to a fast start in the PBA Players Championship at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl in Columbus, Ohio, as he seeks to win what would be a record 11th major. As was the case in the Tournament of Champions, the Players Championship offers a $1 million bonus for a 300 game in the title match, and Go Bowling would award a free game of bowling to each person registered on the Go Bowling website. Full report: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/jason-belmonte-making-strong-bid-for-11th-career-major/.

Beyond his many achievements, Belmonte has worked throughout his career to master his craft on the lanes and share the sport he loves off the lanes with bowlers of all ages.

It’s hard to imagine me bowling with anything other than Storm,” Belmonte said. “It’s one of the reasons I’ve achieved all of the titles and accolades. One of the things I’m most excited about moving forward is seeing what we can produce together, seeing how we can win more together, and obviously ultimately how we can grow the sport together.”

This new contract reflects not only how much Storm respects Belmonte as a competitor, but also what he means to the fans of bowling. His unprecedented social media presence has helped him connect with fans around the world. In 2018, Keith Hamilton, President of Luby Publishing Inc., described Belmonte as one of the most influential bowlers of all-time. In his “Leading Off” column in BJI, Hamilton noted that 21 percent of the bowlers at the 2018 USBC Junior Gold Championships bowled two-handed.

Jason has been a member of the Storm family virtually his entire career and together we’ve achieved great success,” said Symes. “He’s clearly one of the most talented bowlers ever and an icon of the next generation of bowlers. We’re proud to have our equipment in his hands as he continues his hall of fame career.”

Belmonte lives in Orange, New South Wales, Australia, with wife Kimberly, daughters Aria and Sylvie, and son Hugo.

Hoosier Classic Includes Ebonite Demo Day

The Columbia 300 Hoosier Classic is considered the premier collegiate bowling tournament of its kind, in part because of the stellar field it attracts. The 50th anniversary edition will feature 19 of the nation’s top 20 men’s teams, and 18 of the top 20 women’s squads.

The two-day team competition starts Saturday at Western Bowl in Indianapolis, with the fields being whittled down until two teams in each division square off Sunday afternoon. Each team will bring up to eight bowlers, which means more than 1,200 young bowlers and coaches will jam the 80-lane center.

Seventy-eight men’s teams and 66 women’s will roll six standard qualifying games on Saturday, then all will return Sunday for 15 Baker games. The top eight teams in each division will then bowl single-elimination, best-of-three matches. The final two teams will bowl best-of-five for their respective titles.

A unique feature of the event will be Hall-of-Fame lane maintenance technician Len Nicholson conditioning the “final-eight” competition lanes with a hand sprayer, as was done from around World War II through the early 1980s, until the advent of the sophisticated robotic lane oiling machines.

The weekend schedule includes an Ebonite Bowling International Demo Day, the Lee Johnson Memorial Eliminator singles sweeper, the National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association and the NAIA Coaches meetings, and a reunion of Indiana University bowling team members.

Money also will be raised for Make-A-Wish, which hopes to send a five-year-old central Indiana girl with leukemia to Disney World with her family.

TOC Generates More Solid Numbers for the PBA on FOX

The ratings for the PBA on FOX and FS1 continue to be impressive. The success story continued on Sunday with the live telecast of the Tournament of Champions on FOX.

The show scored an average of 1,131,000 viewers, which is 75% better than last year’s TOC and ranks as the most-watched non-NFL adjacent PBA telecast — and most watched regular PBA Tour event — since 2010,” PBA CEO Tom Clark told BJI.

Clark added that, “Sunday’s show peaked at 1.301 million viewers during the championship match.”

For a detailed summary of the season-to-date numbers, click here: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/pba-tournament-of-champions-show-averages-more-than-a-million-viewers/.

Exposure on the FOX broadcast network has helped drive viewers to FS1 cable telecasts as bowling fans re-establish their viewing habits. And FS1’s solid schedule of rebroadcasts has helped bolster the numbers — good news for FOX, FS1, the PBA, Go Bowling, product-registered companies, the industry as a whole and advertisers.

Business Briefs…

* The Bowling Centers of Southern California is conducting a Pins Over Average Tournament for league bowlers that ultimately will see two winners receive an entry into the Hall of Fame Xtravaganza event, to be held May 30-June 1 at the Red Rock Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. In-league qualifying will take place March 3-30, and the in-league state finals will be conducted March 31-April 6. The entry fee is just $5. All centers registered in the program will automatically be entered into a drawing for a free Xtravaganza entry. Further information is available at socalbowling.com.

* Americans spent $19.6 billion for Valentine’s Day last year. This year, they’re expected to spend $20.7 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. If you are a bowling proprietor, is your center benefiting from some of that spending? Depending on the product mix you offer, everything from a “Sweetheart Doubles” tournament to a romantic wining-and-dining package are among the possibilities. Check out what other businesses in your market area are doing, and start preparing for Valentine’s Day 2020 today.

* Mike Flanagan of InsideBowling.com has created a group on Linked In for bowling business professionals. It’s called “Bowling Industry Network,” and is patterned after the “Sports Industry Network” group that has nearly 200,000 members. “It’s open to anyone who works in bowling or has passion for bowling,” Flanagan said. “It’s intended to be a place for us as an industry to inspire action to take bowling to new heights.” One of the group’s rules: “no self-promotion.”

Other News You Can Use…

* Entries are now being accepted for the 2018 International Bowling Media Association Writing Competition, which is open to all IBMA members in good standing. Articles, columns, news stories and editorials published in newspapers, magazines, newsletters, blogs or websites during the 2018 calendar year may be submitted in one of three categories: News (a news story or coverage of an event about bowling); Feature (a non-fiction story about a person, place or bowling event), or Editorial (any opinion expressed in the media concerning a bowling-related subject). The entry deadline is March 15. “We are proud of the growth that the competition has experienced in recent years,” said IBMA President Keith Hamilton. “The competition is important to the entire industry because it promotes exposure for bowling in the media.” For an entry form, go to: https://www.bowlingmedia.org/portals/0/Documents/WritingCompetition/2018/2018_Writing_Comp_Application.pdf.

* BJI Editor Gianmarc Manzione recalls the Valentine’s Day 2018 horror story at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and how the bowling community — led by PBA Regional champion Michael Azcarate — stepped up to help in the aftermath: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/taking-care-of-our-own-when-the-local-bowling-community-helped-parkland-heal/.

* We’ll have full coverage of Jason Belmonte’s record-tying 10th career major championship victory in the April issue of BJI. Meanwhile, you can read a recap of his third Tournament of Champions triumph here: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/belmonte-wins-historic-10th-major-and-third-toc-title/.

* The cover story of the February issue of BCM focuses on how Gary and Eve Skidmore, with the help of Trifecta Management Group, have transformed their traditional center in Albuquerque, N.M., into a bowling entertainment center. Other highlights include a marketing feature on utilizing league bowlers to build tournament revenue, the keys to surviving an IRS audit, a piece of how to build brand evangelists, features on Florida’s Krauss family, Pennsylvania’s Eiserman family and much, much more.

* The cover story of the February issue of BEC focuses on how Simon Shearer and his son, Michael, decided on the greater Detroit area for their bowling entertainment center project, and how they have included the “wow factor” into every area of the operation. You’ll also read about how a significant segment of the population is seeking “experiences” when they spend discretionary dollars, nuts-and-bolts tips for developing a profitable redemption operation, how to develop and special-events calendar and much more.

* Two-time PBA champion Michael Machuga has been named the first-ever Women’s Bowling Coach for Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa. Machuga will oversee the recruitment of the Lakers’ first team, which is set to begin competition in the 2019-20 season. Machuga is an Erie native and has actively coached bowlers since 2003, including a stint as a coach for Panama’s national team ahead of the Pan-Am Games. “I am extremely excited for this great opportunity,” Machuga said. “Building a program from the ground up has been a goal of mine and I look forward to building a team, and a program, to be competitive at the national level. We are going to get to work quickly.” Read the university’s full release here: https://hurstathletics.com/news/2019/2/12/erie-native-machuga-selected-as-first-mercyhurst-womens-bowling-coach.aspx?fbclid=IwAR1Oy49fDNPNucqJvgOSPpgUepraejoPRT35sMH91xn86wPzjsn9wyrYPZQ.

* The guest this week on Phantom Radio is Bruce Hall, who is working to help bowling become a part of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. To listen to the conversation, go to: https://kegel.squarespace.com/phantomblog/2019/2/13/bruce-hall-phantom-radio. P.S.: You can read more about that effort in the March issue of BJI.

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

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