Elias gathered 33 top bowlers for a meeting in 1958 at the ABC Tournament in Syracuse, N.Y., convinced them to put up $50 each and the Professional Bowlers Association was formed. The tour began in 1959 with a total prize fund of less than $50,000. By the early 1980s, the prize fund for national and regional events exceeded $7 million. He was also instrumental in helping bowling gain national exposure by convincing ABC-TV to telecast the winter tour. The Firestone Tournament of Champions, which Elias created, was the first commercially-sponsored sports event ever on television.