By CHAD MURPHY
USBC Executive Director
USBC celebrates its 10th birthday in 2015.
Yes, that’s right, it’s been 10 years since the merger that formed USBC. There have been many ups and downs this first decade as USBC has grown from the parent organizations toward one National Governing Body for the sport of bowling. In the last few years, USBC has continued its evolution as a membership organization first to one that services the entire sport of bowling. So, before I go further, I’d like to simply state:
Happy Birthday, USBC!
Today, through the strategic leadership of the USBC Board of Directors, the organization continues to evolve. A new membership product with the Adult Basic, a new investment in the youth area that included lowering the price of the USBC Youth membership product, a new PWBA Tour launch, new U.S. Opens … these are just a few endeavors going on at the national office. This is in addition to the day-to-day work of the certs/specs area, BowlTV team, the rules department, Team USA, the Open and Women’s championships folks – all driven to provide top-level customer service to bowling.
In addition to some core functions, USBC has experienced much change over the last decade. This 10th birthday will come and go just like any 10-year-old child’s birthday – additional opportunities to be more successful, new challenges to overcome and a future for the sport to build.
We have spent the last year examining our business practices internally to try and improve across everything we do. In doing so, we found five priorities to focus on over the next three to five years.
One is Technology.
Information technology is an important piece of any company’s core business and we will have an increased focus in this area. Not many folks know this but USBC, in addition to all the things it is and can be, it also has data collection as a key function and doing so efficiently is core to its success. To insure that success, we have hired Robert Stokes and Christi Bickley, two new subject matter experts to support our IT needs. We will work to learn from some mistakes of the past and offer new solutions to the marketplace.
Our goal is that the core functionality of our information technology will be among the best. And not the best in bowling but among the best in the world.
Another is Youth Development.
Building on the successes of the last couple years, USBC will continue to support the financial needs of the IBC Youth area.
Programs such as USBC Collegiate and USBC High School as well as Junior Gold will continue to be centerpieces in building a better future for our sport. The new USA Bowling coaching and tournament programs will grow and over time will help us build the support in the lower age groups.
Damon Sarrocco, a former PBA assistant tournament manager, has joined us and will focus on our short-duration tournaments. The Masters, the Queens, both U.S. Opens not to mention the entire PWBA Tour are just a few. Damon also will look into new areas for us including an exciting new “team” concept that might have a familiar ring to it. Damon also will look to improve the experience for all attendees. Whether a bowler or a bowling enthusiast, our tournaments need to provide a unique and improved “experience”.
We will make a more concerted effort to be more effective with our tournaments. Both the Open and Women’s Championships will see more cities over the next decade than they have during the last. This will provide new opportunities for growth in the segment with each stop. From Las Vegas to Syracuse, we once again will be covering the country to give more bowlers the opportunity to compete for championship hardware.
We will continue to support our bowlers with a standard membership product through our local associations that includes a certified average. We will continue to see that membership decline and manage our finances within that. Yes, I said decline. Fewer centers and fewer leagues mean fewer certified bowlers. Unfortunately, that’s a sign of the times today. However, it doesn’t have to be the future.
It doesn’t mean that bowling won’t be more successful tomorrow and it doesn’t mean the integrity and services for the sport have to be compromised. A better and more consistent lane inspection process is in development, continued research into the future of bowling balls, pins, lane oils and, yes, a better support system for associations that insures the next generation will benefit from all of these services.
A new generation of bowlers is being floored every day and our goals need to be in line with retaining them in some new ways. Information that moves quickly will become a must and a direct relationship between USBC and the consumer will need to be created that complements the local relationship that exists.
Programs such as the USBC Bowling Academy and the new stats package from XBowling are two examples where we can and will provide value in new ways. More ways will be available than ever before to build a brighter future for the sport and give our membership more value than ever.
And last, but certainly not least, is … Marketing.
Our products and services and, the benefits of bowling, have never been more important. Moving forward you will see that in our marketing initiatives. Arleen Hernandez has joined USBC after two years at IMG LIVE that followed eight years of managing AT&T’s relationship with the NCAA. She will work alongside Tramon Thomas and the rest of the marketing and creative teams to move USBC forward towards all future birthdays in a way that builds a better USBC that we can all be proud of.
To close, I’d like to remind you of our mission and promise. Everything we have talked about certainly fits within it and flows to it.
USBC is the National Governing Body for the sport. Our mission is to provide benefits and services, resources and standards for the sport. Our promise is to celebrate the past, be mindful of the present and ensure bowling’s future through thoughtful research, planning and delivery. We will protect and nurture the sport with a mutual admiration and respect for all who enjoy bowling.