One of the longest relationships between a sports organization and a TV network is ending with the news that the Professional Bowlers Association has just inked a multiyear, multiplatform rights deal with Fox Sports. The move appears to shut the door on what had been a 38-year relationship between the PBA and ESPN, going back to ESPN’s formation in 1979.
The deal also means that professional bowling extends its nonstop television presence that goes all the way back to 1962, when ABC began its 36-year stint covering the Pro Bowlers Tour.
The Fox package makes Fox Sports the new television partner for the Go Bowling! PBA Tour starting in 2019 and brings a sizable 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 PBA championship finale.
The announcement was made by PBA CEO and Commissioner Tom Clark and William Wanger, Fox Sports EVP, 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 will also be streamed on Fox Sports GO.