CHICAGO (Aug. 19, 2015) – On the heels of a break-out viewership season, the Professional Bowlers Association returns to ESPN for the 36th consecutive year with a live prime-time telecast on Thursday, Dec. 17, as part of a 17-event schedule that includes four major championship live telecasts.
The 2015-16 schedule, released today by the PBA and ESPN, begins with two hours of live coverage of the PBA World Championship from the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev., at 7 p.m. ET on Dec. 17, and concludes with the PBA League Elias Cup finals on Sunday, May 8, from Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine.
In between, the schedule includes three consecutive Sunday telecasts in February featuring live coverage of major championships: the PBA FireLake Tournament of Champions originating from Shawnee, Okla., live on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 7) at 2 p.m. ET; the United States Bowling Congress Masters on Sunday, Feb. 14, at 1 p.m. from Indianapolis and the PBA Players Championship on Sunday, Feb. 21, at 1 p.m. from Columbus, Ohio.
The February schedule concludes at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 28, with Chris Paul’s CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational which in 2015 garnered the highest PBA TV viewership (averaging more than 1.1 million viewers) for any event since 2012.
Across the schedule, ESPN will provide PBA fans with 30 hours of world-class bowling coverage. The complete schedule is listed below.
“The PBA is looking forward to building on our exciting 2014-15 season which saw our audience increase by 23 percent, the largest year-over-year viewership increase in decades,” PBA CEO and Commissioner Tom Clark said. “It’s a credit to our great partners at ESPN, our business partners and host proprietors, the PBA players who consistently deliver thrilling sports entertainment, and the wide-spread awareness we have developed through our multi-media PBA Network.”
Brian Kweder, ESPN Senior Director, Programming and Acquisitions, also had praise of the network’s long-standing relationship with the PBA.
“The PBA has been a staple of ESPN’s schedule for the past 36 years and following the success of last year’s rating, we’re excited to kick things off with a live prime time event on December 17,” Kweder said. “We are looking to continue the ratings upswing this season with an appealing and consistent schedule.”
As part of the comprehensive ESPN schedule, the PBA will provide coverage of five PBA Tour titled events that are part of the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VII, season four of PBA League competition, and five additional events that have become part of the PBA’s traditional schedule: the Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship, the PBA Challenge Finals (featuring top players from the PBA50 Tour, PBA Regional program, PBA-PWBA Women’s Regional program and the Teen Masters Grand Championship); the DHC PBA Japan Invitational finals from Tokyo (airing on ESPN2), and the World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals presented by PBA which will feature three men and three women who have qualified in world-wide World Bowling-PBA International Tour competition.
The PBA’s schedule of ESPN-televised tournaments will be supported by the entire PBA Network, including extensive live preliminary-round coverage on Xtra Frame, PBA’s online video-streaming channel; mainstream news media, PBA.com, social media outlets including the PBA’s YouTube Channel and more. For a video recap of the 2014-15 PBA Tour season, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JI__7Y1Znw0
2015-16 PBA-ESPN TELECAST SCHEDULE (all times are Eastern)
Thursday, Dec. 17 – PBA World Championship (live), 7 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 20 – WSOB VII PBA Cheetah Championship, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 27 – WSOB VII PBA Viper Championship, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 3 – WSOB VII PBA Chameleon Championship, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 10 – WSOB VII PBA Scorpion Championship, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 17 – Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 24 – WSOB VII PBA Challenge Finals (PBA-PWBA Women’s Regional, PBA Regional and PBA50 Tour Finals plus Teen Masters Grand Championship), 3 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 31 (ESPN2) – DHC PBA Japan Invitational from Tokyo, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 7 – PBA FireLake Tournament of Champions (live), 2 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 14 – United States Bowling Congress Masters (live), 1 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 21 – PBA Players Championship (live), 1 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 21 – World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals presented by PBA, 3 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 28 – Chris Paul’s CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational, 1 p.m.
Sunday, April 17 – PBA League Quarterfinals, 1 p.m.
Sunday, April 24 – PBA League Quarterfinals, 1 p.m.
Sunday, May 1 – PBA League Semifinals, 1 p.m.
Sunday, May 8 – PBA League Elias Cup Finals, 1 p.m.