ARLINGTON, Texas - Seven events on the 2018 Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour schedule will conclude with live television coverage, including five Saturday shows, and all event finals will take place in the host centers.
The opportunity to give bowling fans additional live coverage, including live broadcasts each Saturday in August, meant the PWBA Tour had to adjust the 2018 schedule announced earlier this year. The PWBA has had a regular presence on network television since the women's bowling tour relaunched in 2015.
Also in 2018, the finals of each PWBA event will take place in the host centers. In the last two seasons, the championship rounds of standard events were taped for delayed broadcast in conjunction with one of the four major events on the PWBA Tour. In 2018, fans will be able to watch wire-to-wire action of a PWBA event.
"For the proprietors and the fans who come out to support us, they now will be able to watch the crowning of a PWBA Tour champion in their center, and it also will provide continuity for the bowlers," PWBA spokesperson Kelly Kulick said. "The 2017 season concluded with an incredible live show in Richmond, and the energy in the venue was amazing. We can't wait to capture that again in 2018."
A new element of the 2018 season will be three elite-field events that will take place during the second half of the season.
After eight events, the top 24 players on the 2018 PWBA points list will earn automatic spots into the elite-field events - the PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open, PWBA Twin Cities Open and PWBA Columbus Open. Those events will have 32-player fields, with remaining spots filled through an on-site eight-game qualifier each week.
All 32 competitors will bowl 16 games of qualifying, then the top 12 advancers will bowl six additional games. The top five after 22 games will advance to the TV finals.
The 2018 PWBA Tour season will kick off in Las Vegas in late April and hit locations across the United States, closing with six consecutive live TV shows, including back-to-back majors to end the season. Five of the live shows during the season will take place on Saturdays.
"The addition of the live telecasts gives the PWBA greater exposure and the opportunity to grow even more to build future stars," Kulick said. "We have so many amazing women competing each week, and I'm looking forward to another great season."
The finals of the six events not on TV will be livestreamed from the host center. All non-televised competition from every tournament will be livestreamed. Details on livestream distribution will be announced early next year.
The six standard events in 2018 will feature 16 games of qualifying before the field is cut to the top 32. After eight more games, another cut will be made to the top 12, who will bowl six more games. The top four after 30 games will advance to the livestream stepladder finals.
The complete revised 2018 PWBA Tour schedule:
* April 26-28 - PWBA Las Vegas Open, South Point Bowling Plaza, Las Vegas (standard event; livestream finals)
* May 3-5 - PWBA Sonoma County Open, Double Decker Lanes, Rohnert Park, Calif. (standard format; livestream finals)
* May 10-12 - PWBA Fountain Valley Open, Fountain Bowl, Fountain Valley, Calif. (standard format; livestream finals)
* May 16-22 - USBC Queens, National Bowling Stadium, Reno, Nev. (major; live TV finals)
* May 31-June 2 - PWBA East Hartford Open, Silver Lanes, East Hartford, Conn. (standard format; livestream finals)
* June 7-9 - PWBA Louisville Open, Fern Valley Strike and Spare, Louisville, Ky. (standard format; livestream finals)
* June 14-16 - PWBA Greater Harrisburg Open, ABC West, Mechanicsburg, Pa. (standard format; livestream finals)
* June 23-30 - U.S. Women's Open, Boardwalk Bowl, Orlando, Fla. (major; live TV finals)
* Aug. 2-4 - PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open, Seminole Lanes, Seminole, Fla. (elite format; live TV finals)
* Aug. 9-11 - PWBA Twin Cities Open, Cedarvale Lanes, Eagan, Minn. (elite format; live TV finals)
* Aug. 16-18 - PWBA Columbus Open, Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl, Columbus, Ohio (elite format; live TV finals)
* Aug. 22-25 - PWBA Players Championship, Plano Super Bowl, Plano, Texas (live TV finals)
* Aug. 31-Sept. 4 - PWBA Tour Championship, site to be determined (live TV finals)
The site for the invitation-only PWBA Tour Championship will be announced at a later date.