A few weeks ago the International Bowling Federation (IBF) made some big news by certifying the string pinsetter for use in sport leagues, competitive tournaments and all sport bowling uses. However, the certification comes with a new set of requirements for all string machine centers in order to ensure consistency and alignment with free-fall centers.
Andrew Oram, Chief Executive Officer of the IBF, said:
“Today, the International Bowling Federation approves string centers for Sport Bowling to ensure bowling operators and investors have a real choice in new technology – both free-fall and string technology are now viable options for Sport Bowling. Now, operators and investors who choose string machines as a way to make their businesses more efficient, profitable and sustainable, can continue to offer and engage in Sport Bowling.”
It appears that the impact the coronavirus has had on bowling centers around the world played an important role in the decision. Oram went on to say that now more than ever new tech is needed to help bowling alleys and bowling business owners overcome the financial damage of the mandatory shutdowns and distancing measures from the pandemic.
Karl-Heinz Funk offered his thoughts in a letter to the IBF CEO following the announcement:
We are in full support of the IBF’s statement, that String Technology benefits all stakeholders in the sector of Sports Bowling in great fashion. Our increasing number of convinced customers that switch large centers to String Pinsetters, even in the United States, underline and confirm the importance of this development.
We have been very outspoken when it comes to the extremely high maintenance costs of free fall pinsetters when compared to string. But the case for string goes beyond the financial impact and towards the reliability and efficiency of the gameplay. The rise of the casual/entertainment bowler means more bowlers who are looking for an experience and aren’t as concerned with what kind of pinsetters you have, but just that they work.
This news from IBF is certainly reigniting the conversation around string among other bowling associations and competitive groups. Specifically, the USBC is currently running tests and analysis in consideration of string for competitive bowling.
We expect string to be certified across the board within the next few years and will become more widespread in bowling alleys around the world. String already dominates in many countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. And although sport bowling is alive and well, some markets are seeing declines in sport bowlers who are being replaced by casual bowlers.
For bowling business owners, it is simply more financially viable to own, operate and maintain string machines. These major trade associations and groups are seeing that as more and more string data is collected.