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City of Arlington Helps to Promote Campus to Visitors

Well before construction began for the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame and International Training and Research Center, the city of Arlington and the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau were making plans to tell visitors to their city about one of its newest future attractions.

Major efforts started last winter when CVB Senior Director of Bureau Services and Programs Mary German contacted IBM/HF officials about creating a display at the Arlington Visitor's Center. The idea was part of a master plan to showcase major attractions such as the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers and Six Flags Over Texas, each located in the same area of Arlington as the Campus.

The IBM/HF sent several boxes of memorabilia to show the diversity of the sport of bowling. Items included old bowling equipment and clothing, photographs and other artifacts. More modern features such as bowling balls with logos of the Cowboys and Rangers, USBC logoed pins and information on programs with the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America such as Bowlopolis were added. The display was completed in time for the opening of the Rangers season in April.

"People coming to the Visitor's Center are very excited about the museum coming here," German said. "We have exhibits on existing attractions plus new things like the International Bowling Museum which many people didn't know about."

The CVB's mostly volunteer work force toured the Campus to learn first-hand what to expect so they would be able to speak to visitors about bowling. The CVB also included information about the Campus in its big picture timelines and in its presentations to groups that are coming, or thinking of coming, to Arlington.

"It's a way to take a convention to a different place for outings," German said. "They can take tours and bowl in the training facility and get customized bowling balls."

Not long after the display launched and in advance of the opening of the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium in June, the city began putting up colorful signs near major highways and roads pointing visitors to the major attractions. Right below arrows for Six Flags Over Texas, Cowboys Stadium and the Rangers Ballpark is "Bowling Hall of Fame - Coming Soon."

Arlington's overall efforts - and its new slogan "and the crowd goes wild" - resulted in the city being rated the No. 1 sports-obsessed city in the country by Men's Health Magazine. Neighbors Dallas and Fort Worth both made the top eight. Such is the advantage of being located within Arlington's Entertainment and Sports District which helps raise bowling's profile by showing the Campus as a destination.

"We're telling people we're about to become the bowling capital of the world," said Arlington CVB Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Diane Brandon. "Most of what we will do will be outside the Arlington area. These include what we call familiarity tours with convention and consumer media. We deal with both the convention side and the consumer/tourism side."

By Mark Miller
USBC Communications