Could bowls be the next sport to get its own emoji?
PUBLISHED: 17:01 20 November 2018
American Football used cheerleaders, cricket turned to T20, and football had the short-lived Golden Goal.
And now the classic British sport of bowls is looking to add its own modernising touch of razzle-dazzle to bring in more fans - by getting its own emoji.
The move has been sparked by iconic bowls venue Potters Resort, in Hopton-on-sea, which has submitted a proposal to the Unicode Consortium - the body that decides what emojis will be created and added on to devices.
Sports such as swimming, golf and martial arts have already been introduced to the selection of 2,823 symbols.
But despite being played by more than 400,000 people in England and considered as an official Commonwealth Games sport, a bowls emoji is yet to be added to the list of icons.
Ahead of the Indoor Bowls Championships in January next year, John Potter, the managing director of Potters Resort, said: “We have submitted a proposal to the Unicode Consortium for a new emoji, because bowls is a sport loved and played by so many people and all different ages around the world.
“It is one of Britain’s quintessential sports and there’s not many other sports where an 80-year-old can beat a 21-year-old.”
Mr Potter said, “Bowls is as popular as ever and having an emoji would endorse this.”
World number one ranked indoor bowls player, Greg Harlow, backed the decision to introduce the bowls emoji.
Mr Harlow said: “As someone who has enjoyed playing bowls since the age of 11, it would be incredible to have the sport represented with an emoji.
“There is a common perception that bowls is just played by pensioners, but people only have to turn on the TV to watch the Indoor Bowls Championships to know that this is not the case.
“A bowls emoji could really help give the sport a makeover and an appreciation with the younger generation.”
The Unicode Consortium is a non-profit organisation made up of five committees who update, revise and review requests for new emoji characters.
Stephen Lowe, of group JustGroup said: “We speak to hundreds of bowls fans and players at the Championships every year and they all tell us how passionate they are about the sport, and the majority of these are also on Facebook and Twitter.
“We would love to see a bowls emoji added because it is such a sociable and fun game, and is loved by so many people,” Mr Lowe said.
What is an emoji?
An emoji is an icon, expression or image which are used in texts, emails or on social media.
With 2,823 symbols and counting, the small digital images can depict facial expressions, animals, common objects, places and types of weather.
Since they were launched in 1999 by Japanese artist Shigetaka Kurita, they have catapulted into the digital world and come to represent a new language.
This year in June, more than 150 new emoji icons were introduced as a result of the new Unicode 11.0 system.
The new update included a number of new animals such as a hippo, kangaroo and a parrot were added to the exclusive group.
Sports such as softball, a handful of crustaceans and new expressions were also added to the list.
The highlight of the last update was the long-awaited inclusion red and silver hair.