Why is Bowling so Expensive?

Bowling is a fantastic and highly entertaining yet fairly complex sport that requires many materials and equipment for playing. Therefore, there is a lot involved in the sport, from pinsetters to lanes, bowling balls, shoes, and everything in between.

You might be thinking, why is bowling expensive, and how can I play and practice bowling for cheap? Well, that is precisely what I am here to let you know.

In this article, I will talk about whether bowling is expensive or not, and if it is, why is it so expensive? I will also talk about the average cost of a bowling game and ways you can play the game for cheap. So, read this article till the end if you want to learn about bowling prices and how to get good practice for affordable prices.

Why is Bowling so Expensive?

Is Bowling an Expensive Sport?

Well, it depends on what you compare the cost of bowling too. If you’re comparing bowling to running or soccer, then yes, it is more expensive. But if you compare bowling to more costly sports like equestrian, sailing, or hockey, it is not as expensive as you would think.

Typically, bowling is considered more expensive for a newcomer or casual player. The reason for this is that casual players usually do not have any equipment on hand. That is why they have to pay additionally to get all the required equipment and components to have a fun and entertaining game of ten-pin bowling with their friends loved ones.

Professional bowlers who have their bowling equipment like specialized bowling balls and high-quality bowling shoes that offer good traction do not have to spend a lot on playing in an alley. But, ultimately, looking at the sport from a neutral perspective, bowling is a relatively expensive sport.

Why is Bowling So Expensive?

So, bowling is an expensive sport, but why exactly is it so expensive of a sport? You might be thinking. There are several significant reasons why bowling is a more expensive sport than others. Let us take a look at these major factors which make bowling a costly hobby.

Fewer Players than Before

Bowling is not as popular of a sport as it was around 20-30 years ago. There are fewer professional bowlers globally. The sport is considered more of a time pass entertainment activity than a real professional sport, with leagues and tournaments, hosted every year among the world’s top players.

Since fewer people are going to bowling alleys, these places tend to cost more than other places because they want to keep the profit margin good enough to keep their business alive and well. That is why lesser traffic means more expensive costs so the alleys can function appropriately for the people interested in the sport.

Luxury Bowling Alleys

Bowling is more of a luxurious sport now. Sure, bowling alleys are just standard, meant basically for professionals and young bowlers coming to learn about the bowling craft and practice. Still, many bowling centers are luxury entertainment centers.

You would see dates coming here to have a fun time, throwing balls, eating food, drinking around. You would see loved ones hanging out in cosmic bowling alleys, with cool LED screens having automated scoring algorithms in them. And everything is much more high-quality and luxurious, which makes bowling more of a luxury sport, increasing the overall cost of it for all the people around the world.

Additional Equipment

Bowling is a comparatively more expensive sport also because of the additional equipment you need for it. If you are thinking of going professional, you will need good loose and comfortable attire, high-quality bowling shoes, perfect for every occasion, specialized bowling balls and wrist gloves, along with other things.

On the contrary, if you are a casual player, you would have to pay for house balls, getting a pair of bowling shoes, and other equipment from the bowling alley, which would ultimately cost more. So, either way, bowling will cost more than you would expect, and getting cheap practice could be difficult.

League Costs

It might seem like an excellent idea for you and your friends to take part in a bowling league, and it is if you are good bowlers. But if you think bowling leagues are a cheap way of bowling in the alley with high-quality bowlers and your friends, then that is not entirely true.

The reason for that is, you might think that you are paying like $10 a night for league participation only, but if you factor in food, additional equipment, and other element costs, you are going to see that the overall daily costs can go around $30-40. This cost can be a lot for a bowling alley, so leagues also make bowling expensive.

Renting a specific space in the alley

Another reason why bowling is an expensive sport is that you are not only taking equipment like bowling balls and shoes to play in a bowling alley, you’re also taking their space.

You are renting a proper area or a lane where nobody else will be able to play as long as you have it. Renting out a specific part of the bowling alley is what makes bowling in an alley expensive. So, if you ever wonder about why bowling is costly, try to think of it from this perspective if you play in a bowling alley.

How Much Does a Game of Bowling Cost?

The cost of a single game of bowling can differ depending upon the area the bowling alley is situated in, the time you visit the alley and the discounts and events happening there.

At bare bone bowling alleys with no additional luxuries, you might be able to play a single game of ten-pin bowling for around $4-5, which is quite reasonable, in my opinion.

But if you are talking about bigger bowling alleys that are more of entertainment centers with bars and food courts and dining options, then you are looking at a more expensive game of bowling.

Since more people want to come to these places and have a fun time with their loved ones, you will probably get a single bowling game in these luxury places for around $7-10, which is a bit expensive for my taste.

Then, bowling alleys charge by the hour instead of charging per game, which can sometimes be a blessing because you can play as many games as you want in that one hour.

An hour can cost around $15-25 in a bowling alley. But if they are giving discounts for special events, you might be able to get a better per hour price with your friends and family.

Bowling alleys with bowling specials like cosmic bowling and other types of premium bowling settings can raise the single-game price by $3-4 extra, so that is also something to think about.

You can read more about the cost here: How much does it cost to go bowling?

How to Bowl Cheaply?

Well, if you have recently figured out that you are a pretty interested and skilled bowling enthusiast and you can bowl more than 200 every time you go to the alley, and you want to spend more time in there, then you must be looking for ways to get bowling practice to make it big.
Bowling is a generally expensive sport, but there are always ways you can find centers and alleys that offer cheap bowling practice and even all-you-can bowl discount prices.

So, how exactly do you make bowling cheaper for your interest; Well, let us take a look at some methods you can utilize to make the sport more affordable for you and your passion for it.

First off, you can go to the bowling centers at night when they give discounts and offer promotions at low prices and take advantage of them with their all-you-can bowl or deal per game prices.

If you are a strict by the rules bowler who wants nothing more than to get a bit of practice and bowling enjoyment in your routine, you can also join a discounted bowling league that offers better overall prices for games.

You can also buy bowling shoes that are high-quality but used from yard sales or pro bowling shops selling used bowling shoes on sales to stop yourself from spending on in-house bowling shoes.

Playing with house balls can be complimentary at most bowling centers, but if you are still looking for your own bowling ball, you can go to pro bowling shops or look for a used but good bowling ball on the internet and find the perfect one for you. With these ways, you can cut down everyday bowling costs to have a great experience overall.


We know that bowling is an expensive sport, but if you employ good tactics and strategies to make sure that your bowling costs are low, you can succeed in that. I hope you learned a lot from this guide and that you will utilize this knowledge in your next visits to bowling alleys!

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