When it comes to professional sports athletes’ earnings often spark curiosity and conversation. While every sport is dominated by major leagues, there’s an equally passionate and dedicated community of professional bowlers who showcase their skills on the lanes. Ever wondered what professional bowlers earn in pursuit of their passion
A professional bowler earns $45,000 to $50,000 annually while having a PBA membership excluding the sponsored deals which is slightly higher. Most of the top professional bowlers like Walter Ray Williams Jr. earn $250,000 to $300,000 whereas top women bowlers also substantially earn well exceeding $50,000 according to PWBA.
If you’re still wondering about how much does a professional bowler make and what are the different income streams they use to maximize the overall income for their decent living, this guide is curated for you to shine a light on things.
What is the average salary for professional bowlers?
The salary of a professional bowler depends on various factors, such as their skill level, performance, endorsements, and tournament participation.
According to the PBA tour. Top bowlers earn $100,000 annually from the prize. Walter Ray Williams Jr. also known as the Goat of bowling of his time brought $150,000 from the tournament yearly.
The highest professional bowlers who also involves in major tournaments and Sponsored deals consistently earn in six figures or more than $100,000 whereas these bowlers that consistent but does not acquire top spot of bowlers earn $30,000 to 100,000$ depending on the participation and tournaments they involve while those who just started their career or not in top performer in the list earn below than $30,000.
Most bowlers who compete in local and regional tournaments earn between $10,000 and $30,000 per year.
Professional bowlers’ income streams
Professional bowlers can earn income from various sources including tournament winning, sponsorships, endorsements, coaching etc. following are some of the sources of income that professional bowlers use.
1 – Tournament Winnings:
Among the other income streams, tournaments play a major role in professional bowlers’ income. They appear in different tournaments and earn a good amount by appearing first spots.
A top tournament mostly pays its winner around $50,000 to $100,000 and half of this amount to the runner-up whereas a bowler who appears in tournament opening rounds pays $5000 to $10,000 depending on the tournament’s generosity.
However, when it comes to major tournaments like the PBA Players Championship distributed a prize of 1M$ to the winner of the tournament in 2021 which is the significantly higher amount in recent years.
2 – Sponsorships:
Sponsorship deals between bowlers and sponsors, like in many other sports, typically involve a financial arrangement where a sponsor provides financial support or other resources to a bowler in exchange for certain promotional or marketing benefits. These deals are mutually beneficial for both the bowler and the sponsor.
The amount of sponsorship depends on the popularity of the bowlers and it can be from a few hundred bucks to thousands of dollars. Professional bowlers secure sponsorship deals from equipment manufacturers, and apparel companies and promote brands related to the sport.
3 – Appearance Fees:
Professional bowler with a good reputation often appears in public areas where they meet with fans and take pictures.
They receive appearance fees for attending events, trade shows, or autograph sessions. These fees can vary based on the bowler’s popularity and demand.
The manufacturer and event organized may pay 1,000$ to 5,000$ or even more by appearing on fan events or as a speaker in league tournaments.
4 – Coaching:
Experienced professional bowlers often offer coaching services to amateur bowlers or enthusiasts.
They may conduct clinics, give one-on-one lessons, or provide instructional content online. Coaching can be a significant source of income, especially for retired or semi-retired bowlers. The charges of bowling lessons and clinic holds may range from 50$ to 200$ per hour for their teaching expertise.
List of Top 5 Highly Paid Professional Bowlers
Here are the top 5 bowlers based on their career earnings
1. Walter Ray Williams Jr ($4,787,224)
Walter Ray Williams Jr. is the best-paid bowler ever, making a whopping $4,787,224 in his career as a professional bowler.
2. Pete Weber ($4,023,488)
Pete Weber, the son of PBA Hall of Famer Dick Weber, is the second-highest-earning bowler, with a total of $4,023,488 in his bowling career.
3. Norm Duke ($3,334,193.)
Norm Duke, a legendary bowler who’s in both the PBA and USBC Hall of Fame, ranks as the third wealthiest bowler, having earned a total of $3,334,193 in his remarkable career.
4. Parker Bohn III ($3,171,106)
Parker Bohn III, the second-most successful left-handed bowler in PBA history, trails only behind the legendary Earl Anthony. As of 2023, Bohn has pocketed $3,171,106 throughout his professional career and continues to compete without retirement plans.
5. Brian Voss ($2,563,254)
Voss wrapped up his career in 2019, amassing a total of $2,563,254 in earnings.
What Is The Future Of Professional Bowling?
The future of professional bowlers’ salaries hinges on a few crucial factors. First and foremost, the sport needs to become more popular, especially among younger generations. As the fan base grows, so do the opportunities for sponsorship deals, which can significantly boost the earnings of professional bowlers.
Another vital aspect is media exposure. If professional bowling can secure more television and online streaming coverage, it not only increases its visibility but also its revenue potential. This, in turn, can lead to better salaries for the players.
Social media could be a game-changer too. Bowlers with substantial followings on platforms like Instagram and YouTube can act as advocates for the sport, potentially bringing in more support and, consequently, higher earnings for themselves and their fellow professionals.
Many people still like to go bowling for fun, and kids enjoy it too. Getting support from these groups can make a big difference and help professional bowlers earn more.
While we may not see a complete return to the “golden age,” there’s still hope for bowling to grow and for professional bowlers to make better money in the future.
Professional bowlers typically earn $45,000 to $50,000 annually, with top players like Walter Ray Williams Jr. making over $250,000 per year. They earn from tournaments, sponsorships, appearances, and coaching. The future of their salaries depends on the sport’s popularity, media exposure, and social media engagement. Growing these aspects could lead to better earnings for professional bowlers.