HARRIS COUNTY-HOUSTON SPORTS AUTHORITY INSIDER

United States Bowling Congress Open coming to Houston in 2022

Bowling will roll into Houston in 2022. Getty Images

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One of the world's largest participation sports events in the world is headed to Houston.

Approximately 50,000 bowlers will converge on the Bayou City for the 2022 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships. The 119th edition of the event will be played at a new mixed-use, state-of-the-art sports facitily that is being developed in North Houston.

Bowling is just the latest in a line of sports that have chosen Houston as a destination for a big event. The five-month run of events is expected to drive an economic impact between $75 million and $100 million.

"What an amazing opportunity for Houston and Harris County,'' said Chris Massey, Harris County – Houston Sports Authority Director of Events. "When you combine ingredients like a world-class sports town, an amazing new venue, and a top-notch event such as the USBC Open Championships, you really can't help but get excited.''

The city will also host the 2020 Men's Basketball Regional, the 2020 U.S. Women's Open, the 2021 World Transplant Games, 2023 Men's Final Four, 2024 College Football Playoff. In addition, the city was named to host one of eight XFL teams and is positioned to possibly become one of the 10 U.S. cities that will host 2026 World Cup games.

The 2020 Open Championships marks the first time bowlers will bring their marquee event to Houston. Since its inception in 1901, the event has been held all across the United States and 2020 will be the tournament's fifth trip to Texas, joining Fort Worth (1957), Corpus Christi (1992, 2006) and El Paso (2015) as hosts.

"We're excited to bring the Open Championships to a new host city in Houston, which has proven itself to be among the nation's elite and top-tier sports destinations," USBC President Karl Kielich said. "The opportunity to be the first major event in a new sports complex demonstrates the success and strength of the USBC Open Championships."

Participants will compete in three average-based divisions and the event will include enough lanes for the Open Championships, the Bowlers Journal Championships presented by USBC and team practice sessions.

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.


The headline induced heart palpations in drive-thru burger fans across Texas and neighboring states … "Texas-based Whataburger sells to new owner amid expansion plans." While that sounds unsettling, the real concern is:

What does this mean to Whataburger's everyday (sometimes twice-a-day) customer in Texas?

In the immediate future — like tomorrow, next week, next year — probably very little. But in the long run, all bets are off. Most likely, there will be significant changes at your local Whataburger over the next three to five years.

Whataburger is now owned by a private equity company (Chicago's BDT Capital Partners), which may not know a Chop House Cheddar Burger from a Whatacatch Sandwich — and doesn't understand that when you're stuck in morning traffic on I-45, nothing beats a Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit.

That investment company bought Whataburger for only one reason: to make money. Shocking, that's what investment companies do. They are not fast food philanthropists. They're financial killers who want to see a return on their investment.

What's next?

So don't be surprised if they take Whataburger national. That's my big takeaway. It may mean Whataburger may have less Texas on its menu in the future.

The new owners are buying a very successful or stagnant company, depending on how you crunch the numbers. According to QSR Magazine, the bible of the fast food industry, Whataburger is only the No. 22 fast food chain in the U.S. — with total sales of $2.2 billion for its 821 restaurants across 10 states.

But, more important, Whataburger has the second highest sales per store, $2.7 million. That beats the average McDonald's, Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendy's, etc. — the whole bunch of national biggies. Only Chick-fil-A has higher sales per store, a printing press $4 million.

What a deal?

If Whataburger is so successful on a per-store basis, why did the owners sell? Two factors, one probably, one definitely. In Godfather terms, the investment company probably made them an offer they couldn't refuse. While Whataburger has phenomenal sales per unit, it was growing at a very slow rate — only 15 new restaurants in 2017. That same year, Chick-fil-A opened 140 new restaurants. Taco Bell opened 168 new units. Domino's expanded by 216 locations. Popeyes popped the lid on 147 places.

Continue reading on CultureMap to learn about how the rising price of beef could impact burger chains.

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