Why Is Bowling So Expensive?

Why Is Bowling So Expensive & How to Save Money

Ever wondered why bowling is so expensive? Discover various factors that drive up the price of bowling, such as lane charges, shoe rentals, and additional incidental fees. Don’t let the cost of bowling keep you on the sidelines, lace up those shoes and head to the lanes with confidence!

Rolling a strike can be exhilarating, but the cost of bowling might leave you feeling uttered. Unlike many sports, bowling can be quite pricey – especially when gaming in large groups. A night of bowling with your pals might seem like a casual affair, but the cost of just a few games can leave your wallet feeling decidedly spare. But how does it get so expensive in the first place? And are there ways to cut down on the cost? If these are the questions currently lingering in your mind, this post is for you. We go through all the factors that contribute to the cost of bowling and discuss how you can save a buck or two when going bowling. Ready to take a deep dive? Let’s get started.

How Much Does Bowling Cost?

How Much Does Bowling Cost

To understand why bowling is so expensive, we have to first look at the average cost of going out for bowling. The cost of bowling is far from set in stone, as numerous factors come into play, such as the alley's size, the hour of the day, the number of games played, and any available promotions or discounts. How the bowling alley charges its members may also affect the cost. Check out these two popular pricing models to better understand how your local bowling alley may be billing you.

  • Per Person: The bowling alley will charge every participating individual a set fee of around $3 – $6 per game. A typical game lasts 15 – 20
  • Per Hour: Bowling alleys may switch up their pricing game by charging a flat hourly rate rather than per person, but the cost can still pack a punch, ranging from a moderate $20 to a striking $40 per hour.


  • Watch out! The cost of playing alone is just the tip of the iceberg – additional expenses like shoe rentals, snacks, and drinks can quickly turn a casual night out with friends into a lavish affair, where you end up forking over more than $100.

What Makes Bowling So Expensive?

What Makes Bowling So Expensive

There's more to the cost of bowling than meets the eye! In addition to the factors mentioned earlier, there are other reasons why bowling can put a dent in your wallet. Here are a few:

  • High overhead costs: A lot goes into the maintenance and upkeep of bowling alleys, from renting or buying the property and equipment to paying salaries to the staff. Who ends up paying for all these costs? You guessed it – the bowler.
  • Location: Like with many consumer products, bowling costs differ depending on the demographic and location. Some locations, especially those in major cities, can have higher costs due to higher labor costs and rent. You'll only find luxury and corporate bowling alleys in certain areas – keep away from these unless you're willing to pay top dollar!
  • Declining consumer base: Bowling's heyday is now a distant memory, with the rise of the internet and more leisure options available. In the late 80s and 90s, however, bowling alleys were buzzing with activity, serving as a go-to destination for those seeking fun and entertainment. The narrative has changed, and bowling alleys are now seeing a decline in the number of customers they once had. In a bid to cover their ever-mounting overheads, bowling alleys have had to roll up their prices to keep their heads above water.

Pro Tip(s):

  • Avoid peak hours and opt for less busy times of the day. Bowling alleys often offer discounted rates during non-peak hours to attract more customers, so take advantage of these deals to save money.

How To Cut Your Bowling Costs Down

How To Cut Your Bowling Costs Down

Don't let high bowling costs leave you feeling bowled over! Put these savvy money-saving tips to the test and spare your wallet on your next night out at the alley.

  • Special Discount Days: Almost every bowling alley offers a special discount day. The charges are significantly lower on these days – about $ 0.50 per person. Signing up for the alley's newsletter keeps you in the loop with current offers and discounts, making it the ultimate way to bowl on a budget.
  • Get a membership: With a bowling alley membership, you will pay less for your games and can even get free shoe rentals. But before you commit, make sure to crunch the numbers and determine if it's worth it for your particular use case. If you're a frequent bowler, a membership is a no-brainer for keeping your game on point without breaking the bank.
  • Get Your Bowling Gear: You can't go bowling without proper bowling shoes. Most people, therefore, have no option but that use hired shoes. This will suffice for occasional bowlers, but if you are a regular bowler, you can save a lot of money by investing in your bowling gear. This will prevent the sum from accumulating each time you visit the bowling alley. So the next time you plan a night out at the lanes, step up your game and score a thrifty strike by bringing your gear!
  • Share the cost: Bowling is more fun with friends and family. When bowling as a group, you can split the cost of games and shoe rentals. Some bowling alleys may also offer you a discount if you book as a group. So gather your friends and family and roll on over to the alley!

Pro Tip(s):

  • Consider building or using a homemade bowling alley with friends and family. Although there may be upfront costs, it can be a cost-effective solution in the long run, and you can split the expenses. Plus, it's a fun DIY project to do together!

Bottom Line

Yes, bowling is indeed an expensive sport. However, as we have seen, there are various ways to save money. One of the best ways to do so is by waiting for discount days when prices are much lower than usual. You can also share the cost with your friends or family members. If you are a regular bowler, we recommend getting an alley membership – this will ensure you get discounts on shoe and lane rentals. There you have it! Follow these money-saving tips and roll your way to strike after strike without breaking the bank.

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