FAQs: Changes for 2013 USBC Open

Read USBC's press release on the upcoming changes at the Open Championships

What are the benefits of fresh oil every squad?
Having fresh oil for all squads helps further equalize the playing field at the Open Championships. Competitors no longer are affected by the bowlers who were on their lanes during previous squads. Every bowler will start with the exact same fresh lane condition both days.

Why does the schedule have to change?

In order to oil the lanes before every squad, we needed to change the daily schedule. Now, doubles and singles squads will be at 7 a.m., 11 a.m. and 10:30 p.m., while team events will be held at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. With the change, there will be a defined march time for every squad, so it no longer will be necessary to bring partial squads out as the lanes become available and infringe on other bowlers.

Why is the tournament changing from four bowlers on a pair during doubles and singles to six?
Feedback in recent years has indicated that the pace of play during doubles and singles was a little too quick. Some bowlers felt it was demanding to keep up and felt rushed. This change is designed to make for a more enjoyable experience.

How is not changing lanes between doubles and singles going to help?

The day already will move along smoother with all bowlers on the squad starting at the same time. This will even out the pace of play across the house, and by not flipping pairs, bowlers can maintain their pace and not have to wait on the other lanes. This also keeps with the idea that bowlers will not be affected by a different group of bowlers.

Why increase the entry fee?
USBC has worked to hold the line on its pricing structure, which hasn't changed since the 2007 event. Simply put, things cost more than they did in 2007, and we have to take that into consideration. Just as gas, milk, postage, food, etc., cost more for the general consumer, so do the things needed to make the tournament happen, like construction and office materials, transport and storage of tournament materials and lane installation.

It also takes more than 100 employees to keep the tournament running from before 7 a.m. until 3 a.m. each day for approximately 150 days. Since the 2007 event, federal minimum wage has increased from $5.15 to $7.25, so it is necessary to address the increased cost of labor. There's also a handful of employees who work year-round processing prize checks and entries and such.

Finally, one thing many bowlers don't realize is that even when the tournament is at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev., there are construction costs for building out the concourse, and lineage must be paid to the NBS for all games bowled.

Does all of the extra money go to cover expenses?
No. The entry fee increase is $10 per event. Of that, only $5 will go to cover the growing expenses. The other $5 will go directly to the prize fund, which traditionally pays the bowlers between $5-7 million. Last year, 65 percent of the Open Championships competitors earned prize checks.

What can we expect from the online registration system as we move forward?
The initial transition to online registration was well-received, and the new partnership with Active Network will only make things better. For the 2011 championship events, about half of all entries were submitted online. And with the introduction of the upgraded system, team captains will be able to adjust rosters and make other changes without picking up the phone or mailing a letter. They also will be able to make payments and select squad days and times immediately based on what's still available.

Many online purchases like sporting event and concert tickets include transaction fees. Are there fees associated with registering online? Or by mail?
There has always been a fee for using credit cards, and that will continue with the new system having a two-percent transaction fee. Captains who choose to enter by paper, email or phone will pay a five-percent processing fee to cover the additional cost involved in processing entries manually.

Who made these decisions?
The decisions were made by USBC staff, with the full support of the USBC Board of Directors.

How can I provide feedback to USBC on these events?
We are open to your ideas. Please send comments and suggestions to usbcopenchampionships@bowl.com.