Market Snapshot. RUSSIA

After peaking at the end of the 1990 s, bowling as entertainment is on the rise again. Investors are increasingly from unrelated fields such as oil, banking, telecommunications. And gambling, where entrepreneurs are looking for safer investments. At 14-16 lanes, Moscow centers average about twice the size of centers in prominent regional cities around the nation. Lanes number 4,091 in Russia; centers, 545. Chains in Russia are the exception. There are only three. Bowling City, headquartered in St. Petersburg, has three centers. In Moscow, Planet of Bowling, has 12 centers, dating from 1994, and Cosmic, eight centers, started in 2004. Largest Russian bowl is 48-lane Seven Stars in Krasnodar, 2,500 miles southeast of Moscow.

The 2001 European Cup Individuals and the European Men’s Championship in 2005 were organized by the Federation of Sport Bowling Russia (FSBR), formed in 1997 to promote the sport. TV coverage of major tournaments and prominent people in top FSBR posts have raised awareness of bowling. Current FSBR president is Alexander Gogolev, senior vice president at Vneshtorgbank, a leading bank. Immediate past-president is Moscow vice mayor Joseph Ordzhonikidze. Thirteen official tournaments were on the FSBR calendar in the 2007- 2008 season. As stand-alones or in shopping malls, where bowling is valued as a patron draw, centers are developing into high-grade entertainment complexes with family focus or as nightlife adventure. Added attractions include sports bars, restaurants, and cafes; slots; billiards; children’s rooms–and movie theaters. Lineage averages (U.S.) $45,000 per lane.

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