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Bowlmor AMF staying active

Bowlmor AMF reportedly is closing in on an advertising deal with the PBA.
Bowlmor AMF reportedly is closing in on an advertising deal with the PBA.
Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images

Just think, it was little more than a year ago that Bowlmor was a chain of six upscale bowling centers that had not entered the consciousness of most West Coast bowlers.

Now, New York-based Bowlmor has come on like gangbusters.

It’s gobbled up AMF Bowling Worldwide, Inc., then the largest operator of bowling centers in the world. And then last month Brunswick announced that it was selling its 85 retail bowling centers to Bowlmor AMF.

Quite a feast for Bowlmor AMF, which has, by all accounts, turned around the twice-bankrupt AMF centers into a thriving environment that is making big money.

Bowlmor also launched a national compaign to promote bowling on Saturday nights. The centerpiece was a hip and funny commercial that was shown on major television networks. And when was the last time you saw a bowling commercial on TV?

Now, Jeff Richgels of disclosed this week that Bowlmor AMF is close to landing a sponsorship or advertising deal with the Professional Bowlers Assn.

PBA Commissioner Tom Clark was quoted as saying that the deal will let people know that Bowlmor AMF cares “about ‘real’ bowling. It hasn’t happened yet, but we’re really deep in talks and at this point it would be shocking to me if we didn’t work something out together, hopefully sooner rather than later.”

Clark’s reference to “real” bowling is his way of saying that Bowlmor AMF is not trying to strictly create a party atmosphere at its centers without regard to league bowling.

That contention may be a tough sell because league bowlers have been streaming out of Bolwmor AMF’s bowling houses to sites they consider more hospitable. But revenue seems to be surging at Bowlmor AMF’s bowling centers, so a loss of some league bowlers may not be keeping the company’s executives up at night.

Bowlmor Chief Executive, President and Chairman Tom Shannon recently told that the company is not the “Big Bad Wolf” that league bowlers perceive. Not by any stretch of the imagination, he says.

And Clark seems to back up that notion. As for Shannon being anti-serious bowling, Clark says that Shannon “seems fine to me.”

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