There will be more bowls on New Zealand television screens this year.
Following on from the success of the inaugural Bowls3Five televised league, SKY Sport will also broadcast the first edition of the Ultimate Bowls Championship out of Australia.
The UBC is billing itself as the most lucrative bowls competition in the world, with a record prize pool of $500,000.
So far 20 teams have signed up, 16 from Australia and two each from China and New Zealand.
Double world champion Gary Lawson will lead the Wellington Hornets, while Andrew Kelly will headline the South Island Storm.
Organisers are also hopeful of adding a third New Zealand team, featuring some of the country’s up and coming talent.
Blackjacks Shannon McIlroy, Jo Edwards and Ali Forysth have already been snapped up by the North Queensland Roos, Weipa Crocs and Taren Point Power teams respectively.
The Ultimate Bowls Championship will consist of three two-day events in 2019; the first in Wollongong in early April, the second in Melbourne in mid-August and the third in country New South Wales in mid-December.
The UBC is a pairs tournament, but all teams will consist of three players who will rotate during each event.
Like Bowls3Five, it promises to be fast-paced with each match to take less than half an hour.
But the most unique feature of the UBC is its innovative scoring system, with players having the opportunity to score points with every bowl that is played.
A ‘toucher’ will earn a team three points, as will holding the shot when the leads have finished their bowls.
The team with the closest bowl will score 10 points, while five points will be awarded for the second-closest and three points for the third-closest.
For more information visit ultimatebowls.com.au