Bowling Sponsorships

The Quick Facts on Bowling Sponsorships and How You Can Get One

Ronnie Russell
Ronnie Russell is sponsored by Motiv. Photo courtesy PBA LLC

So, you’re the best bowler in your league and think it’s about time one of the major bowling manufacturers pays you to use their equipment. How do you do it? And what expenses do they actually cover? A bowling sponsorship is an investment in you by a bowling company which, ideally, becomes a mutually beneficial relationship.

What is a Bowling Sponsorship?

Contrary to what some believe, you’re not merely getting free stuff.

When you have a sponsor, you have a responsibility to that sponsor. No company is simply going to give you an arsenal of balls as some kind of reward. When you're sponsored, you must represent the company at all times and do so in a positive manner. If Ebonite is sponsoring you, you cannot wander around the bowling alley wearing a Storm shirt.

Bowling companies don’t simply hand out free stuff to anyone who asks. That’s a horrible business model. A sponsorship is a two-way agreement. Your sponsor furnishes you with apparel and equipment (depending on your sponsorship deal) and you become a living advertisement and advocate for that company.

The more you can do for a company, the more they’re going to do for you. Because of that, top-notch pros are going to get more benefits than a local bowling stud. The pros have more influence, and the sponsors want that exposure.

If you’re a youth bowler, don’t get your hopes up until you’re an adult.

Bowling companies are not going to sponsor youth bowlers, as a simple sponsorship as a kid could cost you a spot on a collegiate team later in life, due to NCAA rules. Bowling companies don't want to take any chances with that and thus will refrain from sponsoring youth bowlers.

Limited Sponsorships

First, it’s important to understand there are not nearly as many sponsorships available as there are people who want them.

Companies receive thousands of applicants every year for just a few hundred available spots. Also, it’s important to note not all those spots come with the same perks. Only the top bowlers get the best deals.

There are three basic tiers of sponsorship (listed here from least perks to most perks):

  • Advisory Staff (typically pro-shop managers and bowling center operators)
  • Regional Staff (there may be a couple different levels within this category—Brunswick, for instance, has Regional 1 and Regional 2 classifications—and this is the level you have the best shot at as a league/tournament bowler)
  • Pro Staff (usually reserved for professional or high-profile bowlers—the sponsors will find you if you’re of this caliber)

Again, it's not easy to land a sponsorship deal, but it's possible. Which company is right for you? And in which tier do you fit? Read on.

Next: Explaining the Perks of Each Sponsorship Tier