Bowling Centers

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 2,800 bowling centers in the US are indoor facilities that offer bowling and related activities. They serve a mix of league and recreational bowlers. Major revenue categories include game fees; food and beverage sales; and rental fees (shoes, balls). Bowling centers may offer group events, such as birthday parties or corporate gatherings.

Decline of Bowling

Despite status as one of the top participation sports in the US, bowling as a competitive and recreational activity has struggled to remain relevant to Americans.

Boutique Bowling

To further engage adults and redefine the image of bowling, some firms have adopted a boutique bowling model.

Industry size & Structure

The average bowling center operates out of a single location, employs about 24 workers, and generates about $1 million annually.

    • The US bowling center industry consists of about 2,800 companies that employ about 67,000 workers and generate $3 billion annually.
    • The industry includes about 3,795 certified individual bowling centers and just over 82,000 lanes, according to the United States Bowling Congress (USBC).
    • The bowling center industry is fragmented; the top 50 companies account for about 34% of industry revenue.
    • Large companies include Bowlero and smaller chains such as Pinstack and Splitsville.
                                  Industry Forecast
                                  Bowling Centers Industry Growth
                                  Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                  Recent Developments

                                  Jan 3, 2024 - Consumer Confidence Up in December
                                  • Consumer confidence levels rose in December 2023 for the second month in a row, following three consecutive months of declines, according to data from The Conference Board. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index increased to 110.7 in December 2023 from 101 in November 2023. According to Dana Peterson, Chief Economist at The Conference Board, “December’s write-in responses revealed the top issue affecting consumers remains rising prices in general, while politics, interest rates, and global conflicts all saw downticks as top concerns.” Peterson added that the gains in consumer confidence were largest in householders aged 35-54 and households with income levels of $125,000 and above. Plans to purchase homes, autos, and large appliances rose moderately on a month-to-month basis as interest rates moderated.
                                  • Bowling center operators will have to monitor minimum wage changes, as 22 states increased their minimum wages in January 2024, according to Chain Store Age. About half of the increases are automatic adjustments linked to inflation. States that raised their minimum wages in January 2024 include Hawaii ($14), Maryland ($15), Nebraska ($12), and Washington ($16.28). Several states are set to boost their minimum wage levels later this year, including Florida (up to $13 in September) and Nevada (up to $12 in July). According to the Economic Policy Institute, nearly 40 US cities and counties will increase their minimum wage rates above state levels at the start of the new year. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, and more than 20 states, primarily located in the South and the Midwest, use the federal minimum as their wage floor.
                                  • Improving consumer confidence and higher demand for in-person activities are expected to support growth in the US bowling centers industry, which is projected to increase at nearly 7% CAGR from 2022 to 2027, according to a recent Inforum forecast. This rate is faster than the projected growth of the overall economy. Employment levels in the industry have declined year to date, and employment costs have increased slightly as wages have grown.
                                  • American Express reported robust spending growth in the travel and entertainment category in the third quarter of 2023, according to The travel and entertainment category increased 13% in the third quarter of 2023 compared to the previous year. American Express also reported that millennials and Gen Z continue to be the firm’s fastest-growing consumer cohort, with spending up 18% in the US from a year ago and accounting for more than 60% of its new consumer account acquisitions globally.
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