All the money to the top

The PBA (Professional Bowlers Association) has a problem. Bowlers today make smaller payouts than the same tournaments 20-30 years ago. One result of this is only a handful of people make better money then run of the mill professional jobs (sales, engineers, etc.). As a direct consequence, many talented people don’t try to be professional bowlers.

I’ve pondered, “What could I do to start a competing tour to compete with the PBA?” One idea I had, run events where only 1st place pays. Concentrate all the money at the top. For example, the upcoming 2023 USBC Masters has a prize fund raising of $420,000. 1st place pays $100,000. The winner of this event every year becomes one of the top earners of the year. What if it all went to 1st place? Most bowlers have never earned $420,000 in a year. This would make it possible to have one good event and do so, but it would also remove the “grinders”, those who hang in there with smaller earnings until their skills develop and they scoop up big wins.

Is this a better way to function with all the money at the top? I’m not sure. It started out as a thought about marketing in a sport I love, but ended up as a philosophical social commentary. Think about it.