APL03 Extravaganza Nov 10-13
The $110,000 APL03 kicks off at Club Pine Rivers, four days, eight teams, three daytime matches, and live TV night matches. The two Queensland franchises were drawn against each other in the opening round of the $110,000 APL03 at Club Pine Rivers today.
Gold Coast Hawks played down their “favourites” status but they certainly started their campaign well, decisive over Brisbane Gold, 8-3, 6-6.
“It’s always good to get a first win, good to beat the local team too,” Gold Coast’s Brett Wilkie said with a grin.
“A good tough game, we were a bit stiff, it’ll be different next game,” said Brisbane coach Robbie Wild.
Club Pine Rivers has turned it all on for APL03.
“I can’t say enough about all the volunteers, 60 of them, who have helped us pull this all together,” Club Pine Rivers president Ron Howden said.
“My reward is seeing it all go off exceptionally well, promoting the sport of lawn bowls.”
“The next four days will be a treat for sports fans of any persuasion,” new president of Bowls Australia and South Tweed star Nigel Smith said.
“The players are fierce rivals on the green but good buddies off it, they know APL is about profiling the sport, that’s where our new bowlers are coming from, other sports.”
2015 is the final year of an initial three-year agreement to use APL as a promotions tool.
Bowls Australia CEO Neil Dalrymple said it’s most likely APL will be extended (a decision will be made early next year) and if so, there will be more tweaks, as happens every year anyway.
“For example, there is only one woman playing this year, NZ Blackjack’s Jo Edwards, if APL is back next year, every team will be required to field a woman,” Dalrymple said.
“We’ve had interest from other teams outside the foundation franchisees, including from overseas, so while the game format won’t change, the competition might.”
It’s “Kid’s Night” at Club Pine Rivers tonight, the bowls being broadcast live on Fox Sports, and something for the kids if you bring them along to watch.
“It’s all free, we’ve worked so hard to make APL03 a fabulous experience for players, volunteers and spectators,” Club Pine Rivers bowls coordinator Des Wilson said.
“I can guarantee you will have a great time if you come any day or any evening this week!”
And for those wondering why APL03 isn’t “on the ABC” (we get asked this every year), we’d love it to be on the ABC, but they’re not interested.
“ABC is cutting back live broadcasts of all sport, it wouldn’t surprise me if there was almost no sport on the main ABC channel within a few more years,” BA CEO Neil Dalrymple said.
“They got rid of bowls when they were broadcasting the traditional format because they said bowlers didn’t tune in.
“So many bowlers say they loved it and miss it but according to the figures, bowls on the ABC didn’t rate.
“So we’re trying this new format of APL to see if we can attract new players to the sport, and it links into Jack Attack at club level.
“We’re broadcasting on Fox Sports because we had to start a television profile somewhere, and Fox Sports was the most affordable.”
Club Pine Rivers president Ron Howden said those behind APL03 had to generate $2 million worth of advertising to make it worthwhile for Fox Sports to broadcast APL03 live.
“I think it’s all worth it, we expect to attract a television audience of 100,000 or more each night, and we hope that translates into new members,” Howarth said.
Bowls Australia’s Nigel Smith said attracting new players to bowls from other sports required the sport to be proactive at developing a product that would suit television, to fish from the extensive television audience sitting at home and hopefully thinking, hey, I might like to try lawn bowls after all…
“We think APL has the wow factor, we think it will appeal to a television audience, and we’re offering Jack Attack at club level to appeal to those attracted to the sport by the APL spectacular,” Nigel Smith said.
Comedy sports broadcaster Ed Kavalee will be the familiar face in the Fox Sports broadcast box this year for APL03, following on the success of Crackerjack star Mick Molloy on the mike for APL01 and APL02.
Click here to follow the progress of APL03 http://www.bowlsaustralia.com.au/News/apl03-poised-to-commence