PBA Spare Shots: Live Tournament of Champions Telecast on FOX Again Posts Great Audience Ratings

by Bill Vint  |  Thursday, February 14, 11:39 AM

PBA Spare Shots: Live Tournament of Champions Telecast on FOX Again Posts Great Audience Ratings

Sunday’s live FOX telecast of the PBA Tournament of Champions finals from AMF Riviera Lanes in Fairlawn, Ohio, averaged 1,131,000 viewers over the course of two hours, according to Nielsen Media Research figures released this week. The audience was 75% larger than last year’s 646,000 viewers and ranks as the most-watched non-NFL adjacent PBA telecast since 2010.

Sunday's show, which featured Jason Belmonte’s PBA record-tying 10th major championship, also hit a peak of 1.301 million viewers during the championship match according to Nielsen’s figures. Belmonte defeated EJ Tackett, 225-196, to tie PBA Hall of Famers Earl Anthony and Pete Weber, the only other players in PBA history to win 10 major championships.

The 2019 telecast drew the largest audience for a live PBA Tour finals telecast since the historic 2010 PBA Tournament of Champions when Kelly Kulick won the PBA Tournament of Champions at Red Rock Bowling Center in Las Vegas to become the first woman ever to win a PBA Tour title.

Through seven events since the PBA on FOX series began, 12,281,000 viewers have tuned-in to watch the PBA on FOX, FS1 or FS2 including repeats, which is up 56% over last year’s total audience through seven events (7,891,000) and 13% higher than the total audience for the entire 2018 season (10,907,000).

Belmonte will try for sole possession of the major titles record this week in the PBA Players Championship which is underway at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl in Columbus, Ohio. The finals will air live on FOX Sport’s FS1 channel Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern.


With his victory Sunday in the PBA Tournament of Champions – the first Tier 1 event on the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour schedule – Jason Belmonte jumped from 10th place into the 2019 PBA Playoffs points lead with 11,050 points.

Under the new PBA competition points structure in play this season, a win in a Tier 1 (major championship) event is worth 7,500 points – triple the value of the base points total for a victory (2,500 points) in a Tier 3 (limited entry and/or modified format) tournament. Tier 2 (standard PBA Tour) events award double the Tier 3 points.

Previous points leader Jakob Butturff slipped to third place with 8,645 points after finishing 48th in the TOC while Sean Rash moved into second place with 8,885 points after his eighth-place finish in Fairlawn. Rounding out the top eight heading into the PBA Players Championship – another Tier 1 major championship event – were TOC runner-up EJ Tackett (8,610), Dick Allen (6,950), Bill O’Neill (5,310), Jesper Svensson (5,145), and Kyle Troup (4,700). Right behind Troup are Marshall Kent (4,620) and Dom Barrett (4,610).

Finishing in the top eight as of the end of the USBC Masters on April 1 is important because those players will earn a first-round bye in the new single-elimination PBA Playoffs. Finishing in the top 24 is a necessity to qualify for a place in the Playoffs. To follow the points competition as the season progresses, use this link: https://www.pba.com/SeasonStats/PointsList/132?list=1. The PBA Playoffs begin on Monday, April 8, with live coverage of the opening Round of 24 matches on FS1 at 7 p.m. Eastern from Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine.


Non-member Steve Johnson of Coral Springs, Fla., defeated Adam Glickman of Woodmere, N.Y., 189-169, to win the PBA Break Point Alley Challenge presented by Ebonite Sunday in Tavares, Fla., while Brian McMahon of Boca Raton, Fla., defeated Doug Nairn of Debary, Fla., 242-224, to win the PBA50 half of the doubleheader.

Johnson earned $1,800 and McMahon’s first win in PBA competition pocketed $1,500, but only McMahon earned credit for a PBA title because Johnson was not a PBA member at the time he won.

• PBA50 regional activity continues in the South Region over the Feb. 15-17 weekend when Paradise Lanes in Spartanburg, S.C., hosts the PBA50 Dave Edwards Toyota South Open presented by 900 Global.

• The PBA Central and Midwest Regions will participate in the joint PBA50 Plaza Lanes Central/Midwest Open in Crawfordsville, Ind., over the Feb. 22-24 weekend. Over the same weekend, South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas will host a doubleheader including the South Point West Challenge on Friday, and the South Point Member/Non-Member Doubles, both presented by Radical.

● For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on PBA Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area…and remember, you can follow “live scoring” for all PBA Regional events on pba.com (easily accessible for Apple and Android device users using the PBA app).


• For fans who missed the live PBA Tournament of Champions telecast Sunday on FOX, the finals will be re-broadcast on FS1 Saturday at midnight EST (11 p.m. Central, 9 p.m. Pacific). In the event fans miss any PBA on FOX Sports telecast, they are encouraged to check local listings for re-airs on either FS1 or FS2.

• To no one’s surprise, the new unofficial PBA Power Rankings, created by PBA’s new online streaming partner, FloBowling, puts PBA Tournament of Champions winner Jason Belmonte in the no.1 position (moving up from third). Rounding out the top 10 heading into the PBA Players Championship were: EJ Tackett (retaining his no. 2 position from the previous ranking); 3, Jakob Butturff (previously no. 1); 4, Dom Barrett (6); 5, Sean Rash (7); 6, Rhino Page (9); 7, Kris Prather (4): 8, Jesper Svensson (5); 9, Bill O’Neill (11) and 10, Andrew Anderson (10).