The sport of bowls will return to free-to-air television after a four-year hiatus, with a new weekly episodic program titled “The Bowls Show” to air on SBS and SBS On Demand.
Bowls Australia and SBS have announced a partnership to bring the sport of bowls back to the masses with an hour-long magazine-style program, that will also feature highlights of the sport’s marquee events, every Sunday afternoon, 1pm on SBS.
Commencing on May 15 and running for 20 consecutive weeks until September 25, The Bowls Show will bring the sport back to free-to-air television for the first time since 2011, when it concluded a 30 year relationship with the ABC.
The program will also mark the first occasion bowls is broadcast in high definition on free-to-air channels, with the sport finding a new home on SBS while also being made available through the network’s catch-up service, SBS On Demand.
The Bowls Show will be hosted by Jack Heverin, who was initially the voice of bowls through anchoring the nationally syndicated weekly radio program Without Bias before fronting the coverage of last year’s Australian Premier League broadcast on Fox Sports.
The program will also feature some of the biggest names in the sport, including Steve Glasson, Karen Murphy, Kelvin Kerkow, Kelsey Cottrell, Mark Casey and Barrie Lester.
Regular segments on coaching, development, officiating, high performance and social bowls will be incorporated in the program and will provide a point of difference to the traditional event-only coverage shown in past broadcasts.
Bowls Australia President Nigel Smith said that the return to free-to-air television was a strategic priority for the sport and the new partnership with SBS would help bowls appeal to new audiences.
“Bowlers from across the country have been enormously vocal in their desire to see the sport back on free-to-air television following the 30 year relationship with the ABC, and it has been a strategic focus of Bowls Australia’s to achieve this outcome, so this announcement is a tremendous coup for players, spectators and admirers of Bowls in Australia,” Mr Smith said.
“Bowls Australia has worked hard to develop broadcast products that appeal to general sporting enthusiasts, not just regular participants, through coverage like the Australian Premier League, and this is another step in that direction.
“The Bowls Show will help build awareness of new membership opportunities and social participation initiatives like Jack Attack and Jr. Jack Attack, and promote that bowls is a sport for life.
“There’s a captured audience of 180,672 registered playing members, 421,172 bowls club members and 623,281 regular bowls participants in Australia who will once again have access to watch and be entertained by bowls on free-to-air television and I encourage all of these people to tune in each week to ensure its success so that it remains on this platform.”
SBS Director of Sport Ken Shipp was equally optimistic about the potential of The Bowls Show and the sport’s return to free-to-air television on SBS.
“SBS believes in championing sports which unite communities, and we are pleased to bring Bowls back to free to air television for all Australians to enjoy,” Shipp said.
“The Bowls community is extremely passionate, and The Bowls Show gives players, fans and newcomers an opportunity to engage with and stay connected to their sport.”
The Bowls Show will be produced by AVE PTY LTD and Power Productions, in partnership with Bowls Australia and SBS.
Bowls Australia will maintain its relationship with Fox Sports as the sport’s official Pay-TV partner, which will continue to televise more than 30 hours of live Australian Premier League and Australian Open coverage, in addition to other unannounced events.