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 3,100 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 13-14 workers, and generates about $1.3 million annually.

    • The US bowling center industry consists of about 3,100 companies that employ about 43,000 workers and generate $4 billion annually.
    • The industry includes about 3,860 certified individual bowling centers and just over 84,000 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 Bowlmor AMF (AMF and Strike Holdings), divisions of Brunswick, and Bowl America.
                                  Industry Forecast
                                  Bowling Centers Industry Growth
                                  Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                  Recent Developments

                                  Dec 8, 2022 - Return Of The Mask?
                                  • More public-health officials and doctors are encouraging masking to protect against respiratory diseases flu and RSV, in addition to Covid-19. Experts disagree, however, on whether masks are enough — and whether people are willing to wear them after the country has largely moved on from pandemic precautions—is another matter. “I’m not optimistic” that people are willing to mask again, says Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, Calif. “There’s such a reluctance to go what is considered backward, even though it’s actually forwards in terms of helping one another.” Masks help provide protection against flu and RSV, medical experts say, as do other precautions. RSV, a common respiratory virus, also often spreads through expelled virus particles on surfaces, so frequent handwashing and cleaning of contaminated surfaces can help fight its spread, says Scott Roberts, an infectious disease specialist at the Yale School of Medicine.
                                  • Foot traffic at bowling alleys increased 79% year over year during the third quarter of 2022, according to location intelligence provider Gravy Analytics. Outdoor venues like parks and wilderness areas experienced high foot traffic during the height of the coronavirus pandemic as consumers sought activities that allowed them to get outside in a safe and socially distant way, but the same can't be said now. Foot traffic to outdoor recreation venues fell by more than 19% in the third quarter.
                                  • A US appeals court has ruled that Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer and her director of the Department of Health and Human Services qualify for sovereign immunity from litigation of a 2020 executive order closing places of public amusement, including bowling alleys. Plaintiffs argued that the state is not entitled to sovereign immunity on claims stemming from executive orders that forced the businesses to close for six months during the coronavirus pandemic. The Michigan Supreme Court eventually declared the orders unconstitutional, but the businesses were forced to close in the interim, with no benefits provided by the state. The business owners sued Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in 2021, alleging that the state violated their Fifth Amendment rights when it seized their property without just compensation.
                                  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that cleaning once a day is usually enough to minimize the chance of coronavirus transmission in most settings. Bowling centers are likely to benefit if the guidance results in lower pandemic-related cleaning costs. The CDC did identify one appropriate situation for deep cleaning: an indoor environment where a case of COVID-19 had been confirmed within the past 24 hours.
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