Registration for 2018 USBC Open Championships opens this week Matt Cannizzaro February 28, 2017 ARLINGTON, Texas - Registration for the 2018 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships will begin March 1 and 2, and there are some enhancements on the horizon as the tournament returns to the East Coast for the first time in nearly two decades.The 2018 USBC Open Championships in Syracuse, New York, will feature an expanded squad schedule that will help accommodate more bowlers each day in the custom 48-lane tournament venue inside the Oncenter Convention Center. The daily schedule will include five squads instead of four, with team events taking place at 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and doubles/singles squads being held at 7 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.The 2018 Open Championships initially will take registrations for squad times from March 31 through July 7. If those initial dates fill, more days will be added to the tournament calendar, beginning on the front end. This time frame and strategy will be used in future years as well.Existing coordinators (captains with six or more teams) will be contacted by USBC staff and able to register their teams beginning March 1, and general online registration will open March 2."April through July is the most popular time to bowl in the Open Championships, with about 80 percent of our teams coming in that window," USBC Executive Director Chad Murphy said. "Progressively releasing more dates on the front of the event as squads fill should make for a better experience and a more efficient operation." Improved efficiency and a new custom registration portal is part of the reason USBC will be reducing fees for the 2018 event with the elimination of premium pricing fees on weekends. Instead, all teams will pay the same $55 per event and $15 for optional all-events, with a $25 standard processing fee for each team. The Championships Cash program also will be discontinued as part of the change. Captains for 2018 will be able to select their dates and squad times in real-time using the new USBC Event Registration portal, which already is in use this year for bowlers and captains signing up for the VIP program or team practice sessions. Moving forward, the USBC Event Registration portal will be a one-stop shop for all USBC Championship Tournaments registration."We've gotten a lot of positive feedback about heading east for the 2018 Open Championships, and we're anticipating a great turnout, so we're doing everything we can to be prepared to share the experience with as many bowlers as possible," Murphy said. "The enhancements and changes should simplify the process from registration all the way to the bowlers picking up their scoresheets on-site."The 2018 Open Championships will mark the tournament's fifth visit to Syracuse, with previous trips coming in 1935, 1958, 1973 and 1999.Those headed to Syracuse will have an additional opportunity to compete, as the USBC Masters returns to the Open Championships tournament site for the first time since 2011. The two have shared the biggest stage in bowling for most of the history of the Masters, which debuted at the 1951 Open Championships in St. Paul, Minnesota.The 2018 Masters will be held on the championship lanes at the Oncenter Convention from April 9-15. Registration for the Masters will begin Nov. 7.Bowlers at the 2017 Open Championships in Las Vegas will get to enjoy some new features immediately.The Participation Prize fund will be expanded and shared with bowlers with 20 or more years of tournament participation, compared to 25 or more in the past. And, instead of being based on actual score, a pins-over-average format will be used in four year-classifications - 20-29 years, 30-39 years, 40-49 years and 50 or more years.Averages used for the complimentary Participation Prize Fund event will be the bowlers' last 27 games of Open Championships competition. Bowlers will be ranked in their respective categories based on their performances during team competition in Las Vegas. The total prize fund will be $50,000 and pay 1:5 bowlers in each category.For more information on the Open Championships or to register for the 2018 event in Syracuse, call 817-385-8580 or 888-910-2695 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.There's also still time to enter the 2017 tournament in Las Vegas, which will run from Feb. 18-July 16. The entry deadline is March 31.Visit us on Facebook at the official USBC Open Championships Facebook page.