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Top professional bowler Kim Adler knows how to pick up strikes and spares. Now she's trying to pick up a new sponsor on the Internet.
In what might be an unprecedented move by an individual athlete, Adler is using on-line auctioneer eBay Inc. to sell 8 square inches of advertising space on her skirts and shorts to supplement her earnings from the Professional Women's Bowling Association.
The 35-year-old Adler has a sponsorship agreement with Brunswick Corp., which provides her with bowling shirts and equipment. However, she's willing to switch logos when the contract expires at the end of the year if the Internet bid is higher than Brunswick's renewal offer.
"I don't have a sports agent and there is a lot of legwork involved in trying to find sponsorships," said Adler, who has won $792,408 in her 13-year career, ninth on the PWBA's all-time list.
Adler and Brunswick spokesman Dan Kubera wouldn't disclose financial terms of her agreement, although Adler said she made more from her sponsorship contract last year than she did on the tour. Adler earned 39,930 last year and has made $40,185 through 11 tournaments this year.
Tennis players, golfers, skiers and race car drivers wear commercial logos on their clothes and uniforms, and boxers Bernard Hopkins and Eric "Butterbean" Esch have even been paid to have ads for a gambling Web site inked on their backs.
But eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said Adler may be the first athlete to use a Web site to auction off advertising space on clothing.