Tracing the history of professional bowling in America from its glory days in the 1950s and 1960s to its near extinction by the late 1990s, A League of Ordinary Gentlemen follows the fate of the newly modernized Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) and four pro bowlers as they compete on tour.
Professional bowling once occupied an honorable place in the pantheon of American sports. Beginning in 1962, millions of Americans tuned in to ABC each Saturday afternoon to watch the stars of the PBA knock down sets of pins with precision and grace. But by 1997, when ABC pulled the plug on its sagging bowling broadcast, American sports fans and corporate sponsors had all but abandoned the sport and its portly, middlebrow image.
A League of Ordinary Gentlemen chronicles what happened after three former Microsoft executives bought the PBA for $5 million in 2000, rescuing it from near bankruptcy and hiring tough-talking former Nike executive Steve Miller to transform the league and make sports stars out of its bowlers.
In documenting the decline and potential revival of pro bowling, filmmakers Chris and Alex Browne and Bill Bryan spent time with players and executives in their homes, cars and RVs, in motels and diners, and in bowling alleys across America. The result, both poignant and funny, provides an intimate account of the lives of today’s best bowlers, the tensions that arise on the lanes and in the PBA boardroom and the grit and determination of those whose futures are tied to the sport of bowling.
- Chris BrowneDirector
- Bill BryanProducer
- Alex BrowneProducer