I was recently talking to my friend Brian Whalen in a car ride from Washington to our hotel in Baltimore when we were in the States for a duckpin tournament when of course, we got talking about bowling balls. I’ve never been much of an equipment type of guy (those who know me know that I’ve used the same bowling balls for half my life) but I have noticed something with our bowling ball manufacturers that bothers me. While I think that there are a lot of great options out there now for 5pin bowlers in terms of bowling balls, I think there is something seriously missing.
When I flip through catalogues for 10pin bowling balls, then look at 5pin bowling ball catalogues I see a missed opportunity for our sport. Bowling ball manufacturers in the sport of 10pin create “teams” for their products. They take a group of elite players and use their faces to promote their products and in turn, promote the stars of their game. While the sport of 5pin doesn’t have the profile that 10pin has, there’s no reason why our manufacturers can’t do something similar. There are a ton of great players through out the country that could be used to help promote bowling equipment and could be better utilized to put faces in our game. I’m surprised that there have not been any manufacturers that have gone this route, taking a few players that have found success in our game to help sell their brands. In my mind, it’s a win-win situation. I think our game needs to raise the profile of our bigger names in bowling, giving bowlers across the country the opportunity to put faces to names, while at the same time, find out what products they use to achieve their success. I think that our sport lacks the personal attachment of our equipment, and those that use it.
I know that watching TV or flipping through a magazine, I am constantly seeing prominent figures in sports, that are promoting the products they use to the world. 5pin should be no different. I realize that our scale is much smaller on a whole, but we need to start somewhere. We need to start putting our faces of the game out there for people to see, and to try to raise the profile our game one step at a time. It works well for the other sports, so why can’t we make use of the same idea? Why can't we take those faces we saw on CBC recently and use them to market our products back to our players? They've already been watched, and identified by thousands of people across the country. Taking those identities, and using them to back a certain product gives the manufacturer puts a face to the brand, and more than likely will make it more relative to the sport.
I think that to date, this is a missed opportunity for our sport, our stars and our everyday players. However, I think that with a little bit of effort, the manufacturers for 5pin bowling balls can really make a splash with our community, putting some faces out there and more than likely, selling a whole whack of bowling balls in the process.