The first issue of Bowls Plus for 2020 is now out!
February 11, 2020
The truth about the Coronavirus
February 13, 2020

Bowls in review

All the bowls

All the bowls

The health of the bowls as a sport:

On the participation front, the 2018-19 period saw an increase in participation to a new record level of 693,563 across Australia according to Bowls Australia’s research.

At the same time, formal membership stagnated, which reinforces the reality of the changing participation preferences in today’s society.

The 693,563 participants in Australian bowls consists of:

  • 202,273 pennant and competition participants
  • 468,420 participants in regular social bowls
  • 22,870 participants in Jack Attack programs (including Junior Jack Attack in schools).

Formal, or registered, playing membership of bowls clubs has been decreasing for more than 30 years, at the rate of 3.4% per annum on average. Over the period 2010 to 2019, regular bowls participation has increased at an average annual rate of 3.38%.

Events & business deals:

The Bowls Premier League was again held at Club Pine Rivers (CPR) in Brisbane for a seventh time and with a new BPL leg at Moama Bowling Club to commence in February 2020, it continues to be a great source of PR and marketing for the sport with over 80 hours of live TV coverage and replays. The BPL Cup continued to grow culminating in 16 teams travelling to CPR for the finals. The competition grew from 680 teams in 2018 to 695 teams in 2019. Rinkside Live (our live streaming service) was again a hit in 2019 and has become a shining light in profiling our national events and players. During the year an agreement was finalised with the Queensland Government and City of Gold Coast for the Australian Open to be held on the Gold Coast for a further five years, from 2020-2024.BA also secured with the QLD Government and City of Gold Coast for The Nationals to be staged from 2020-2023.
The new festival of Bowls event will see a number of national events staged consecutively at the Broadbeach commencing in October 2020.


The broadcast deal will see CrocMedia’s TV production division Rainmaker deploy its newly acquired state-of-the-art broadcast facilities to produce high-end programming for multiple platforms including Fox Sports, SBS, Kayo and multiple social channels covering the sport’s biggest competitions including the prestigious Australian Open each June, the made-for-television Bowls Premier League each February and November, the 2020 World Bowls Championships, 2019 World Bowls Challenge and the annual The Bowls Show.

Bowls Australia was also able to secure extra funding for Better Ageing, Jack Attack and for a Governance review totalling $1.525 million.

A comprehensive review of the National Merchandising Program (NMP) recently commenced, despite steady returns, to examine:

  • The NMP Policy itself and the requirement for any changes/ updates
  • Assessing how BA enforces the NMP policy at all levels of the sport
  • The creation and implementation of an ethical sourcing policy
  • What more BA and STAs can do to increase the awareness of the program at club and association level
  • How BA can demonstrate to NMP licensees better value for their licence.

Marketing the sport:

Through BA’s CrocMedia partnership, during the year they engaged specialised sports marketing agency Ballpark to create a marketing/ brand strategy to assist in attracting more bowlers to the sport. The new strategy and the subsequent campaign created includes a unique and innovative partnership between BA and World Bowls to enable them to have a global marketing strategy for the sport worldwide.

The campaign was launched in late 2019 and features advertising on television, radio, cinema and on digital platforms throughout 2020.

BA collateral and tagline produced – “Local Legends Wanted” should have a major impact and attract more people to clubs and the sport.

National coaching:

In 2020, BA’s new National Coaching Advisory Group, an NMP advisory committee, a Governance review working party and a Women in Bowls working party are all set to commence operation.

Undoubtedly, 2020 will be a huge year for the sport, with BA’s new National Marketing Campaign to be rolled out across television, radio, cinema and digital platforms, a new BPL event at Moama, a World Bowls Championship on the Gold Coast, the start of another five-year period for the Australian Open on the Gold Coast and the launch of the new Nationals event in October.

We want to hear your thoughts on bowls in 2019 and the year ahead, what needs to change? What are you looking forward to? What issues do you have with the sport? What are you enjoying about bowls at the moment?

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