Elk Grove pinball machine maker's tournament coming to ESPN 'The Ocho'

An Elk Grove Village-based pinball machine maker will have a moment in the national spotlight after rubbing elbows with ESPN at the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl.

Stern Pinball's Pro Circuit Championship tournament, to be held Saturday, March 9, at the Bottom Lounge bar in Chicago, is scheduled to be featured in a half-hour show Aug. 7 on ESPN “The Ocho” — the national sports network's one-day ode to fringe sports, said Zach Sharpe, Stern's director of marketing.

Elk Grove Mayor Craig Johnson introduced to Sharpe to ESPN officials at the college football bowl game, which the village sponsored for $300,000 to boost its business park marketing efforts internationally. Sharpe and a co-worker flew down to the Bahamas ahead of the Dec. 21 game, bringing with them four pinball machines to host a tournament between players and coaches from Florida International and Toledo.

Cameras will be at Stern's upcoming event to film footage and replay on TV this summer. The competition will feature the 40 highest ranked pinball players in the world and is the culmination of 20 sanctioned tournaments held during the course of a 12-month season.

The finals at 5 p.m. March 9 are open to the public, followed by an acoustic performance by Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies at 9 p.m. Tickets are $30 and available at

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