Cover art for podcast Good Seats Still Available

Good Seats Still Available

255 EpisodesProduced by Tim HanlonWebsite

“Good Seats Still Available” is a curious little podcast devoted to the exploration of what used-to-be in professional sports. Each week, host Tim Hanlon interviews former players, owners, broadcasters, beat reporters, and surprisingly famous "super fans" of teams and leagues that have come and gon… read more


141: The National Bowling League – With Dr. Jake Schmidt

We hit the lanes this week to delve into the fascinating story of the nation’s first and only attempt at a professional team bowling league – a seemingly anachronistic idea by today’s standards, but a concept that made total sense in the early 1960s when pro bowling was in ascendance and the sport was seemingly everywhere on television.

Bowlers Journal columnist and historian J.R. “Dr. Jake” Schmidt (The Bowling Chronicles: Collected Writings of Dr. Jake) joins the podcast to lay out the curious backstory, short-lived season(s) and unwitting legacy of the National Bowling League (1960-62) – an ambitious, but altogether logical attempt to professionalize bowling in the style of America’s other major team sports, and capitalize on the big money purses beginning to fuel national TV competitions during the late 1950s.

Amidst a bevy of popular made-for-TV competitions that featured various takes on head-to-head play – like NBC’s weekly Championship Bowling, and primetime’s Make That Spare (ABC) and Jackpot Bowling (NBC) – the coast-to-coast NBL hoped to offer bowling professionals a city-based team format, replete with purposely-designed television-friendly arenas and boisterous fans.

Despite investment from deep-pocketed funders like AFL founder Lamar Hunt and oilman/Cotton Bowl creator J. Curtis Sanford (whose Dallas-based 72-lane Bronco Bowl set the standard for NBL facilities); a well-publicized draft (with then-Vice President Lyndon Johnson in attendance); and a novel scoring system that featured situational bonus points and wild-card substitutions, the NBL stumbled out of the gate devoid of the very thing it needed most to succeed – a national television contract.

Outfoxed by the nascent Pro Bowlers Association – which was simultaneously pioneering a laddered individual vs. individual national tour format with a similarly fledgling ABC-TV – the NBL had to rely solely on individual gates while trying to convince other networks to take notice.  Early crowds were sparse to virtually non-existent, and most pros found the money, light workload and broad television exposure of the PBA’s “Pro Bowlers’ Tour” to be the better path to ply their wares.

It’s a tale of what might have been – and we “spare” no question in our pursuit of the story of this most intriguing of forgotten pro leagues!

Enjoy 20% OFF from Mack Weldon (promo code: GOODSEATS) – and/or NINE FREE MEALS from Hello Fresh (code: GOODSEATS9)!

Educational emoji reaction


Interesting emoji reaction


Funny emoji reaction


Agree emoji reaction


Love emoji reaction


Wow emoji reaction


Listen to Good Seats Still Available


A free podcast app for iPhone and Android

  • User-created playlists and collections
  • Download episodes while on WiFi to listen without using mobile data
  • Stream podcast episodes without waiting for a download
  • Queue episodes to create a personal continuous playlist
RadioPublic on iOS and Android
Or by RSS
RSS feed

Connect with listeners

Podcasters use the RadioPublic listener relationship platform to build lasting connections with fans

Yes, let's begin connecting
Browser window

Find new listeners

  • A dedicated website for your podcast
  • Web embed players designed to convert visitors to listeners in the RadioPublic apps for iPhone and Android
Clicking mouse cursor

Understand your audience

  • Capture listener activity with affinity scores
  • Measure your promotional campaigns and integrate with Google and Facebook analytics
Graph of increasing value

Engage your fanbase

  • Deliver timely Calls To Action, including email acquistion for your mailing list
  • Share exactly the right moment in an episode via text, email, and social media
Icon of cellphone with money

Make money

  • Tip and transfer funds directly to podcastsers
  • Earn money for qualified plays in the RadioPublic apps with Paid Listens