The Family Entertainment Center (FEC) Business Is Now Show Business

August 28, 2017 No Comments

By Scott Borowsky and Frank Seninsky

Shakespeare may not have realized that he was predicting the future when he wrote two of his famous lines:

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” – Julius Caesar

“A stage is where every man must play a part.” – Merchant of Venice.

Bowl Expo 2017 showed our industry that we have the perfect “stage” and all of the men and women (and boys and girls) will come to play if we provide the proper entertainment environment.

Scott Borowsky put it all together with his own quote:  “Today, everything is a stage.  Business is now show business.  Everything is about entertainment. Everyone wants to be on stage.” (Frank actually heard him say something similar to this 30 years ago!)

Shown at Bowl Expo 2017, from left to right: Frank DeSocio, BPAA executive director; basketball great Shaquille O’Neal; Dick Corley, chairman of Bowl New England; and BPAA President Nancy Schenk of B & B Bowling Lanes, Fayetteville, N.C.

Simply stated, our industry is not only the stage but we are also now on stage.  The public expects to be entertained and have a great experience whenever they leave their homes for leisure time and this also includes going out to eat. That is the trend, the public mindset.  Birthday parties are now incorporating elements of what in the past we called children’s theater.  Everybody is on stage.  Everyone is looking to be famous. They love looking at a camera.  Selfies are a part of the stage and play a role in the entertainment. If we are clever, we will have sections in our businesses where the public will want to take selfies.

Bowl Expo 2017 was a major industry event. As Frank previously reported: One thousand-plus enthusiastic bowling proprietors and staff flooded the Nashville, Tenn., Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center July 20-23, 2017 trade show floor on both days and attended the 16 Tuesday seminars that focused on social media marketing and growing your business.  The positive energy buzz was electrifying and one could sense that there was a lot of knowledge in the air to be absorbed by just being there.

The bowling industry realizes they must be family entertainment and not just bowling. That is their business today and the future trend. Everybody gets it, especially the entire Bowling Proprietors’ Associaton of America (BPAA). This is what is driving the business at Bowl Expo.  Every center knows they need to upgrade their environment. If they don’t, they are off the stage and their show is no longer relevant.

Pat Ciniello, chairman, QubicaAMF, at left, with QubicaAMF President/CEO Emanuele Govoni and Frank Seninsky photographed at Bowl Expo 2017.

The new entrepreneurs entering the bowling industry want to be on Broadway and not off Broadway. These deep pocket business men and women are raising the bar and hiring professional general managers and highly skilled restaurant and marketing managers to run their multi-attraction bowling-anchored family entertainment centers. It was quite obvious that traditional proprietors are taking notice and being proactive in learning this new stagecraft.

At Bowl Expo, Frank conducted 24 YouTube interviews with selected BPAA past presidents, award winners and several exhibitors of the 250 that exhibited.  You can learn a lot about our industry and its future by going through the videos. A link and playlist are listed in the sidebar.

Here are several news items from around the industry:

The big action item for AMOA is Operation Choke Point.  Banks are shutting down industry business accounts that need to deposit cash or wish to draw cash. Businesses that operate ATMs, coin operated games and coin laundries are just some examples.  The banks are using this regulation as an excuse to get rid of cash customers under the premise that they are somehow a part of organized crime.  AMOA has been lobbying the key legislators in Washington, D.C., to explain that the unintended consequences of the regulations are hurting the amusement industry. For more information go to amoa.com.

The Bowlers to Veterans Link (BVL) booth at Bowl Expo 2017. For 75 years, BVL has supported recreation therapy for United States veterans. An interview with the organization’s Mary Harrar at the show can be found on YouTube.

The Fair Play Pledge (FPP) is an initiative to ensure that the redemption and merchandiser games that AAMA member companies offer for sale or use in the United States meet a standard of performance that allows a player a fair chance of winning by the application of skill with every game played.  The criteria states that a player can improve their skill with practice and experience and a player’s input controls the outcome of the game.  The public has embraced this initiative and it is the Buzz Boy’s hope that the regulations for enforcement, compliance and non-compliance, review and the appeal process will be fair to all sectors of our industry. For more information go to coin-op.org.

The industry’s biggest trade show, the IAAPA Attractions Expo, is up next in November.  In the summer, we heard that the exhibitor space was already sold out. We expect this year’s show to be hugely attended and are sure that the current growth and enthusiasm buzz will continue through all of 2017.

At Bowl Expo 2017, shown, from left to right: Andy Bartholomy, president, Andy B’s Entertainment; Dick Corley, chairman of Bowl New England; and Frank Seninsky.


Frank Seninsky.

Frank Seninsky is president of the Alpha-Omega Group of companies, which includes a consulting agency, Amusement Entertainment Management (AEM), two nationwide revenue sharing equipment suppliers, Alpha-Omega Amusements, Inc. and Alpha-BET Entertainment, and Alpha-Omega Sales, a full line game and related equipment distributor. All are headquartered in East Brunswick, N.J.  A frequently and widely published expert, Seninsky has worked in the leisure entertainment business for 47 years. For more information, or to see the Frank the Crank Blog, visit www.frank-thecrank.com. Seninsky can also be reached by calling 732-254-3773, emailing fseninskyaem@gmail.com or visiting www.AEMLLC.com.

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