Those of us who spend our down time on the bowling lanes probably learned the sport from watching ABC's Professional Bowlers Tour, a Saturday afternoon staple during the winter & spring from 1961-1997. Back then, bowling was actually a popular sport, but that popularity has taken a massive downturn in recent years.
For four months, the tour served as a lead-in for ABC's other Saturday attraction, Wide World of Sports, although there were a few occasions where the air times were flipped over, and Wide World would air first, especially if a tournament was being contested on the West Coast. It wasn't always live, either. In its early years, the tournaments were shown on tape delay, but viewer demand prompted the change to a live format. Additionally, in those early years, the TV finals had four bowlers, three of whom competed in round-robin format to determine who'd face the first-place bowler for the championship. Sometime in the late 60's or early 70's, ABC switched to the stepladder format, adding a 5th man to the mix, while retaining the 90 minute fomat.
Bowlingfan33 uploaded this sample from the 1971 Buckeye Open.
After 14 years away, the tour returned to ABC a year ago for a 1-shot special to mark the 50th anniversary of the PBA debuting on the network. Today, the tournaments are once again on tape delay, airing on ABC's cable step-cousin, ESPN, while truncated classic reruns air on, of course, ESPN Classic. To paraphrase an old slogan, bowling never gets old.