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How the PBA League Works

Format, Rules, Standings and the Quest for the Elias Cup


PBA League logo

PBA League logo

Image courtesy of PBA LLC

The inaugural season of the PBA League comes with some questions as to what it is and how it works. In the simplest form, it's just like any other professional sports league, with teams competing for the end-of-season championship. Because PBA bowling has long been an individual sport, it's an interesting addition to the Tour. In this article, you'll find everything you need to know about the PBA League.

The Teams

During the World Series of Bowling IV, held in November of 2012, the first PBA League draft was held. The top eight bowlers, ranked by competition points, during the 2011-2012 season were named franchise players. Each one of those players would then fill out a roster, through a serpentine draft. Each team would consist of six bowlers: the franchise player, four more players on the main roster and one supplemental pick, who would participate if anyone on the main roster couldn't compete.

PBA League Rosters

Team Names and Owners

Over the next few months, celebrity owners and team names were announced:

Competition Format

PBA League competition began during the Winter Swing, held in Allen Park, Michigan in January, 2013. During the Winter Swing, four PBA Tour singles events were held (Carmen Salvino Classic, Mark Roth Classic, Don Carter Classic, Earl Anthony Players Championship). As bowlers competed in the eight-game qualifying rounds for each tournament, they were also compiling scores toward team competition. Separate rankings for all four days of qualifying, plus one more for the overall scores through the week, seeded the PBA League teams for five televised competitions.

For each PBA League event, the top three qualifying teams automatically earned a berth on the TV show for the stepladder finals. The remaining teams compete in a clash round to determine the fourth seed on the TV show.

Clash Round

The clash round involves five teams (the fourth through eighth seeds based on qualifying). The #4 seed gets four bowlers in the clash round, while the #5 seed gets three, #6 gets two and #s 7 and 8 get one.

In the clash round, every bowler throws one shot. The bowler (or bowlers) with the lowest pin count is eliminated. This process continues until every team except one is eliminated, with the remaining team earning the final spot on television. Thus, the advantage to qualifying high, thereby getting more entrants in the clash round.

Stepladder Competition

Once the four teams are determined for the television finals, normal stepladder format is used. The #4 seed (winner of the clash round) takes on the #3 seed using the Baker competition format. The winner of that match faces the #2 seed, and the winner of that match battles the #1 seed for the championship of that show.

PBA League Points and Elias Cup Finals

Based on each team's finish, a certain number of points are awarded. At the end of the five television shows, the cumulative points will determine the top five teams for the season. Those five teams will advance to the Elias Cup Finals, while the other three teams will be finished for the season.

The Elias Cup Finals will also use the stepladder format, with the last team standing having earned the first ever PBA League Elias Cup.

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