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Volume 23 No. 24
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PBA wants to strike a title deal

The Professional Bowlers Association is in the market for a title sponsorship, seeking to fill a position for the PBA Tour that’s been open for the past four years.

Shamrock Sports & Entertainment, the PBA’s strategic marketing and sales agency, is leading the negotiations for the tour.

Brian Corcoran’s Shamrock Sports & Entertainment is leading negotiations for the PBA.
Brian Corcoran, founder and president of Shamrock, said the PBA has received initial interest from companies in the telecommunications, beer/spirits, automotive and tax-preparation categories. He said the PBA also has given a “look under the hood” at the title sponsorship to current partners Geico, Barbasol, Wheaties, Bass Pro Shops and Bowlmor AMF.

The organization is looking for a three-year deal priced at between $1 million and $1.5 million annually, Corcoran said, and it hopes to have the sponsor in place by July 1.

“We’re feeling good on the initial pulse we’re getting,” Corcoran said. “I think we’re in a favorable position to take it to market.”

The PBA previously had title sponsor deals with Denny’s (2005-08) and Lumber Liquidators (2008-11). In 2014, Repucom conducted a valuation report of the PBA’s assets, and Corcoran said based on that report Shamrock will “ensure the new entitlement partner package is competitively priced in the marketplace.”

The title package will include brand integration and engagement with digital and social media assets as well as with PBA media partner ESPN.

The PBA’s sales effort comes as ESPN has agreed to expand its number of hours of PBA coverage for the second consecutive year. The network plans to air 29.5 hours of bowling across a 2015-16 schedule compared with 26 hours for 2014-15 and 24 hours in 2013-14.

The 2014-15 events averaged 747,015 viewers, up 23 percent from the previous year. Included in the expanded number of hours will be a live, prime-time broadcast of the PBA World Championship from Reno, Nev., on Dec. 17. The event will mark the first live competition in prime time for the PBA Tour since 2007.

Corcoran said the other PBA events slated for ESPN coverage across 2015-16 have “favorable tune-in” positions, following either “Sunday NFL Countdown” or “SportsCenter” most weeks, running in the 1 p.m. ET slot.

The PBA and ESPN in 2015-16 will be entering the third year of a five-year partnership.

Josh Carpenter is a staff writer for SportsBusiness Daily.