PRODIGY BOWLERS TOUR is a series of video "bowlcasts" that I produce almost every week featuring some of the junior bowlers who participate in the Roswell Varsity and Roswell Junior Varsity leagues each Saturday morning at Brunswick Zone Roswell in Roswell, Georgia where I serve as Volunteer Youth Director.
This video series was originally conceived as a recruitment vehicle to help attract kids from neighboring bowling centers to come join our program. It was intended to help grow our junior bowling leagues by showing other junior bowlers in the area how we go the extra mile to create an interesting and challenging environment for aspiring young bowlers.
Little did I know at the time of its inception that this series of videos would soon catch on and attract a rapidly growing audience that includes viewers throughout the Atlanta metro area, around the state of Georgia, across the nation and yes, all around the world. At the time of this writing, according to YouTube and Google analytics, this amazing video series we call PRODIGY BOWLERS TOUR is watched in places as far away as Singapore and South Korea, not to mention Canada and across the fruited plain of the good ol' USA. And as crazy as this may sound, our junior bowlers at Brunswick Zone Roswell have become YouTube sensations! When our kids who bowl this Summer at Junior Gold, the largest junior bowling tournament in the world, kids from all across America will converge in one town and many of them will be seeking out our kids just to meet them. Our kids are now bowling celebrities. Incredible.
This month alone, fans of the program have given it over 170-thousand "views," and over 18,000 "views" in just the past 24 hours! Amazingly, these viewers have spent, cumulatively, over 1.8 million minutes watching PRODIGY BOWLERS TOUR in the last month alone. You read that right.
Interestingly, the people watching PRODIGY BOWLERS TOUR are not just kids as some might expect. Our biggest audience consists of the much desired 18-34 demographic, which accounts for 55% of our audience. According to YouTube and Google Analytics, here's a demographic breakdown of our viewership in the past month as of this writing:
Evidently, there are quite a few bowling fans out there who enjoy watching bowlers compete -- even non-professionals -- as long as the competition is presented in a compelling fashion with high production values similar to those found on network television.
I suppose it's no accident that the show displays high production values when the person producing these videos has spent the past 48 years in broadcast media and the past 15 years as a freelance video producer. But the fact that a bowling coach is also a broadcast professional (inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2009), and served as the lead play-by-play voice of PGA TOUR Radio from 1997-2002, and just happens to possess the skills necessary to edit broadcast-caliber video with high-quality graphics and 3D animations, and also owns a production music library that was purchased while he was engaged in producing radio commercials for a living, and works from home today and has the time and the inclination to spent upwards of 20-25 hours each weekend editing these videos -- well, I suppose you'd have to describe all that as nothing short of a "perfect storm" of circumstances that have led to this little program, PRODIGY BOWLERS TOUR, coming to be. It seems fairly unlikely that a similar set of circumstances would be replicated elsewhere to enable this same sort of thing happening for another group of junior bowlers at another bowling center in another town. But honestly, I don't take credit for any of it. I do it out of a love for the game and the fact that I'm just a big, overgrown kid at heart. Make no mistake: the stars of the show are the junior bowlers. They're the ones people want to watch, not me. But I am only too happy to give them this platform. It's good for them, and I'd like to think it's a way for me to give back in some small way to this wonderful game that's been so very good to me over the years.
What was, at its inception, a crazy little idea to help grow our junior bowling program has actually grown into something far greater. As our weekly videos have been attracting tens of thousands of views each week, the mission for PRODIGY BOWLERS TOUR has evolved into something much more than mere recruitment. As I say on each week's show, our mission is to Celebrate Junior Bowling while we Elevate Junior Bowlers.
My long-range goal for this show is to push it to its full potential, and possibly even attract some sponsors and turn the whole concept into a scholarship program for young bowlers who aspire to be professional bowlers. That would truly legitimize this entire program. If, in the process, we can figure out a way to take the show on the road and make it truly a "tour," then so much the better. But whatever growth steps we undertake, my first objective will always be to provide the kids with a fun, challenging vehicle to play out their bowling fantasies. That's the essence of the show.
One day when some of these kids show up on some national PBA telecast, all the show's viewers can say, "I knew them when."
Here a sampling of just a few of the comments left by our viewers:
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As of this writing, our videos are typically getting anywhere from 10 to 12 thousand "Views" in their first week online. Now, I wouldn't be so presumptuous as to predict what the future holds for this channel and these videos. But I'd be lying to you if I didn't admit that I'm very curious and anxious to find out what sort of viewership numbers these videos have once they've been online for, say, a year or two.
For the time being, I would just quote the '60s band Buffalo Springfield, who once sang, "There's something happenin' here. What it it ain't exactly clear..."
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