Proprietors of a certain age will remember the pre-computerized scoring era when open play and telescore sheets were supplied by the Walt Peabody Advertising Service to about a third of the nation’s bowling centers in 48 states. The centers paid nothing for the sheets, while the Peabody company sold advertisements appearing on them and kept 100 percent of the revenue.

Now, Strike Ten Entertainment, the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America and the United States Bowling Congress are rolling out Bowling Center TV — or BCTV for short. Think of it as a modern version of the old Peabody service — on steroids.

STE, BPAA and USBC, in partnership with a best-in-class team of technology, advertising and content developers, led by Cisco and Samsung, and including Digital Alpha as financing partner, have announced plans to launch a dynamic out-of-home content network deployed across bowling centers nationwide in 2022.Similar to other digital out-of-home networks that consumers enjoy at airports, movie theaters and other venues, BCTV will provide participating proprietors the opportunity to enhance the customer experience and generate additional revenue through advertising revenue and other in-house revenue streams.

Advertisers will have the ability to reach an enormous audience in a fun environment, where they congregate with friends for close to two hours per visit. Bowling centers that qualify for participation in the network will receive a fully integrated system installed in their centers, including state-of-the-art Samsung flat-screen TVs, digital media players and Cisco networking hardware — technology found in state-of-the-art stadiums, arenas and entertainment centers around the world — at no cost to the proprietor. Installation and maintenance also are included at no charge.

All participating bowling centers will earn a revenue share from the network’s national advertisers and have the opportunity to sell additional advertising inventory to local businesses, retaining 100% of local ad revenues. Centers also can realize incremental sales from their food-and-beverage services, group events and entertainment attractions by promoting these offerings and other special promotions on the BCTV screens throughout the facility.

“BCTV offers our members a unique opportunity to enhance the experience at their venue and generate additional revenue with no cost and minimal effort to their business,” said BPAA President Jim Decker. “The opportunity for advertisers to access a network of scale reaching the type of engaged audience, over a long period of time that our bowling centers deliver, is especially enticing. This allows us to work with a dream team of technology and programming partners to create a best-in-class digital out-of-home content network that will drive the businesses of our advertising partners and sponsors. We look forward to registering qualified bowling centers throughout the year.” 

BCTV will be programmed with a range of engaging long-form and short-form content curated to enhance the consumer experience within the center and meaningfully engage the audience during their visits. Traditional content will focus on sports, entertainment and news, including event coverage, highlights, live score updates and breaking news headlines.

Bowling content will play a meaningful role across BCTV and include everything from competition coverage to fun vignettes that highlight tips, trick shots and the great athletes of the sport.

Consumer engagement elements also will be integrated into the network and include gamification extensions, photo uploading and other elements designed to get customers engaging with the screens across the network. The programming blocks will be supported by national and local ad inventory as well as promotional inventory highlighting special offers in the bowling center.

“USBC is thrilled to be a part of this exciting bowling initiative,” USBC President Melissa McDaniel said. “This concept creates a new distribution channel to showcase competitive bowling for a new audience. The project is an innovative model with the potential to attract new advertisers and revenue to benefit the sport.”

The DOOH marketplace is the fastest growing segment of the out-of-home advertising marketplace, annually generating more than $8.5 billion. It is estimated that the industry will grow to $11 billion by 2026. Research shows that it is 2.5 times more impactful than static advertising (e.g., billboards), and that consumers are 48% more likely to engage with a mobile ad after seeing the initial ad on a DOOH platform.

BCTV figures to be a meaningful offering within the DOOH marketplace, given the scale of audience and extensive dwell times that bowlers have at bowling centers. 

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