Why the PBA puts the Bowling Awards on the chain with the Avalanche NFTs
Bowl a perfect game? Soon, your friends won’t just have to take your word for it—you’ll be able to show off a tokenized achievement, branded as one NFT on Avalanche blockchain by the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA).
The PBA and parent company Bowlero announced today the launch of the League Bowler Certification (LBC) Awards, which are NFT-based awards to recognize bowling achievements that will be sent free of charge to the approximately 300,000 participants in the Bowlero center leagues.
The “digital prizes,” as the PBA calls them, cannot be traded or sold once received, making them soul bound tokens. In that sense, these are not typical NFT collectibles – Bowlero Chief Strategy Officer Lev Ekster described the LBC initiative as “a loyalty program on steroids.”
Initially, the program will include NFT awards for achievements such as a league player bowling his first 200-point game, a perfect 300 game, a streak of 700 or 800 total points, or a game with either 50 or 100 points above the player’s. average.
Ekster said the PBA used to give out physical awards for certain league milestones, including the rings, but that had stopped at some point — to the dismay of some dues-paying players. “They were quite disappointed by it,” he admitted.
Bowlero and the PBA partnered with Layer 3 Labs to launch the initiative. Layer 3 CEO Jonathan Teplitsky said the startup specializes in bringing Web2 brands into Web3, but Ekster admitted the physical sports-centric PBA move is more like “Web1 to Web3 — we’re making a pretty big leap as an organization.”
Artwork from one of PBA’s digital awards. Image: PBA
The PBA will use a dedicated Avalanche subnet to manage the digital prices for bowlers, which insulates it from potential congestion or problems with the wider network. Layer 3 worked with the Avalanche founders and core contributors at Ava Labs on the implementation, and Teplitsky said he wanted to choose a network partner that “doesn’t have reputational risk.”
Bowlers were already onboard the PBA’s LeaguePals platform to be eligible to receive the digital prizes, and they do not need to handle cryptocurrency to receive the NFTs. Ekster said the PBA will not use “NFT” terminology to describe the assets to its user base.
“Our community doesn’t know what an NFT is,” he said Decrypt. “They’re not really crypto natives and they don’t understand it, but we call them digital prices.”
However, handing out digital awards is only the first phase of the program. In the next phase, the PBA will offer earnable points that can be redeemed for physical products – such as bowling balls and equipment – or even physical trophies for certain achievements. Avalanche will be used to verify the authenticity of an achievement to determine eligibility for physical benefits.
Teplitsky sees potential future expansions of the program, such as the ability to bring bowlers’ progress and benefits into one metaverse game world, or even unlock real-world perks – like getting special lighting on your lane when you bowl at a Bowlero center.
And the broader goal is not to limit this specifically to Bowlero leagues, but to eventually offer the program to leagues at every bowling alley across America or potentially the world. But since it’s a new initiative, Ekster said they’ll keep it internal to the Bowlero leagues for now to fine-tune the implementation and make sure everything goes according to plan.
If it works as intended and expands widely, Teplitsky sees potential for the PBA’s digital awards program to bring millions of bowlers into Web3. That’s a more exciting premise for him than pushing another NFT project aimed at value traders.
“This is why I like working with companies, not ‘projects.’ This is the real world, where this is a real business. Valero is valued at billions of dollars, and they’re integrating Web3 into a business model. This is the future , he said. “We’re not bringing in the same old Web3 people who trade theirs Boring monkeys.”