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The decline of bowling

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  • The decline of bowling

    The number of bowling venues in the US between 1998 and 2013 declined from 5,400 to 3,976, a loss of 26% of all bowling alleys.

    The number of weekly league bowlers declined from 8 million out of a population of 227 million in 1980 to 1.5 million in 2017 out of a population of 326 million, a decline of about 80%.

    However, bowling remains the most widely practiced recreational sport in the country, with some 70 million people bowling at least once a year and the number of those who bowl multiple times a year being over 45 million.

    New, high end bowling centers, often with flashing lights, loud music, and expensive cocktails, catering to young "hip" people continue to open in cities. Yet, these venues don't draw the same kind of serious bowlers that traditional working class venues did and the older alleys continue to slowly close.

    Can bowling adapt with the times and survive, or will it slowly continue to die out?

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/money...roll/27070351/

  • #2
    Suspect Bowling will share the same fate as board games and bookstores have had.

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    • #3
      That's because too few of them are Candlepin alleys



      https://www.boston.com/sports/untagg...oments-in-gifs

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      • #4
        I like looking at this within the context of other stuff(ie whatever motorsport series you're currently cranky about) where we think there's A REASON it isn't as popular anymore and if you just changed or went back to that everything would be fine. Sometimes stuff just fades.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Dave Anderson View Post

          New, high end bowling centers, often with flashing lights, loud music, and expensive cocktails, catering to young "hip" people continue to open in cities. Yet, these venues don't draw the same kind of serious bowlers that traditional working class venues did and the older alleys continue to slowly close.
          Gee ya think? I despise the "new style" bowling alleys. Won't go them. They're like Top Golf, you go there to socialize and drink and oh by the way, throw a ball down a lane every once in a while.

          Trying to convert bowling to something it isn't adapting. Just ask NASCAR.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by stockblock View Post
            Suspect Bowling will share the same fate as board games and bookstores have had.
            Board games are definitely on the upswing. My 21 year old son and his friends often get together for "game nights" and if you go to any of the dozens of local tap rooms in the Twin cities area, you will see board and card games being played on a lot of the tables.

            A quick Google search shows that this trend isn't unique to the Twin Cities or my son's social circle. There a numerous articles that pop up from the last year or two talking about the resurgence of board games among millennials.

            https://www.google.com/search?q=boar...hrome&ie=UTF-8

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            • #7
              Its meeting the same fate as roller rinks. The new ones that are opening up like somebody said are more like Dave and Busters, but at the current rate there are more bowling rinks closing than opening.

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              • #8

                I just came back into the office after being out in the shop checking out progress of the hundreds of feet of button tufted, plush lane booth seating we will ship to one of those entertainment centers next week.
                I am also starting a furniture proposal for a shopping mall that will have more than a few hundred thousand dollars of food court, lounge, relaxation and play on your phone seating to go with the Italian marble benches and Argentinian sculpted contrete benches and huge fired clay pots custom made in Belgium to name just a few things.

                Yeah, bowling and brick and mortar shopping are dying out but they ain't dead yet!

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                • #9
                  They need to put the pins back in the front.
                  BAN SHREDDED CHEESE! MAKE AMERICA GRATE AGAIN!

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                  • #10
                    Funny this is posted here now.

                    A friend of ours had a birthday party here https://www.pinstationbowling.com/ on Saturday. We stopped by for a bit.

                    Its been close to 20 years since I bowled.

                    50 lanes and they all were in use. People lined up 10 deep or more just to place an order at the snack bar.

                    But as has been mentioned more than once, I looked around and thought

                    Wow bowling alleys have gotten all tricked out...I HATE IT


                    I bet <5% of those in the building had any idea how to keep score. No one has to any longer.

                    Look up at the screen and when its done showing emojis and cartoon characters chasing bowling pins and your ball speed it would show you exactly where to hit the pins to pick up the spare.

                    It was clean and bright and high tech and family friendly.

                    And it made me miss the lanes I grew up going to that smelled like smoke and needed a bunch of flurorescent lights replaced.
                    Live like Dave

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                    • #11
                      I love to bowl and the Wife does not.


                      So we don't bowl.
                      ...---...

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                      • #12
                        Indy - Fountain Square - Duck Pin Bowling
                        And that's all I'm going to say about that.

                        Except,
                        I don't Duck Pin Bowl often, but when I do I wear mrs goners uncle's bowling shirt, vintage, large embroidered rooster on the back, The Chicken Tavern. It's beautiful.
                        Uncle Joe had dozens of various shirts that the vintage folks snatched up but this one was not gonna leave my closet.
                        Joe and wife Maggie both are in the Wisconsin Bowling Hall of Fame and bowled with high scores until their dying day.

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                        • #13
                          I see this is another industry people are blaming Millenials for ''Killing''

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by senorsoupe View Post
                            I see this is another industry people are blaming Millenials for ''Killing''
                            Like I said earlier, I haven't bowled in almost 20 years so I helped throw dirt on the grave too.

                            There was a time when I left my bowling bag in my car because I used it so often.

                            Sometimes just stopping to bowl a couple games alone because I was passing by the lanes.

                            I don't even know what happened to my ball and shoes. I know I don't own it now that's for sure.

                            Kinda one of those I love doing it but I never do it any more deals.

                            Once you get out of the habit of doing something its easy to stay out of the habit.
                            Live like Dave

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by KevMcNJ View Post
                              Like I said earlier, I haven't bowled in almost 20 years so I helped throw dirt on the grave too.

                              There was a time when I left my bowling bag in my car because I used it so often.

                              Sometimes just stopping to bowl a couple games alone because I was passing by the lanes.

                              I don't even know what happened to my ball and shoes. I know I don't own it now that's for sure.

                              Kinda one of those I love doing it but I never do it any more deals.

                              Once you get out of the habit of doing something its easy to stay out of the habit.
                              Agree, we have to blame Gen X largely for this one. The decline started in the 80s and accelerated in the 90s, continuing ever since.

                              My grandparents generation were the ones who were seriously into bowling. My grandpa was in a league and won trophys and all that. They religiously watched the PBA Tour as well. They would even have parties on Saturday afternoon when their friends would come over to the house and watch bowling on TV. I remember my grandma would make an olive tray with various kinds of stuffed olives and celery for everyone.

                              I miss the 24 hour bowling alleys. If you had nothing to do at 3am you could go bowling. They seemed to be everywhere back in the 70s and 80s. I don't know of any 24 hour bowling places anymore.

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