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One of my financial buddies sent me an article about AMF’s recent
The article, really a blog by Randy Hutchinson, CEO of White Hutchinson
Leisure and Learning Group talks about the implications of AMF’s bankruptcy
and its causes.
While the article made mention of AMF’s financial troubles, it specifically
alluded to AMF’s problems with league bowling. In effect the article
stated that AMF’s problems were the result of “league bowling dying; the
result of an old product that once catered to “the bored blue collar and
factory worker with amusement” in the evening.
To paraphrase, the article further continued to say …”and since the
demographics of America have drastically changed, the league bowling aspect
of the business is no longer viable. Bowling centers that have not
modernized to appeal to the new open play customer will also eventually
Further, efforts to bring in people to “bowl in shorter league seasons have
also met with resistance and, yes, the league product is dead or if not
dead yet, will soon be.”
Like Mark Twain who heard of his death, said, “The report of my demise is
much too premature.”
And so is league bowling.
If Randy White’s analysis is right, then why do we replace about 20% of our
league bowlers every year with NEW people, but somehow still manage to lose
$23% to 25% of our existing customers?
Why we are able to interest people in 8 week have a ball programs and have
thousands of new people across the country join these programs? Why indeed?
And finally, why do we see, regardless of what Randy White may say, more
growth in short season leagues than in the past?
And why, as Randy White says up-front, do 71 million people still go
bowling? That's about 1 out of 4 people age 5 and older? What other pay
for play activity has that kind of following?
C’mon, Randy Man!
Maybe we are getting smarter in learning how to utilize social media.
Maybe our skills at inside and outside selling are getting sharper. Maybe
our centers are getting better looking. Maybe we are hiring better people.
Maybe because league bowling, like many other products, is an evolving
Maybe because we have no choice but to get better...really!
Fred Kaplowitz can be reached @ 516 359 4874 or firstname.lastname@example.org