SOME CATCH! SPONSORS LINING UP TO TAP SPORT FISHING INDUSTRY
Fishing is a $108B-a-year industry "that marketers are
turning into one of the hottest marketplaces" in the U.S.,
according to USA TODAY's J. Taylor Buckley in a "Money"
section cover story. Mass marketers from GM to General
Mills are now "solidly hooked," and companies from Northwest
Airlines to Land O' Lakes "are writing checks of $250,000
and more just to be identified" as fishing event sponsors.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that 35.2
million recreational anglers spent $37.8B directly on
fishing trips and gear in '96. Making those numbers "light
up even brighter are the sport's demographics." Close to 11
million of the 35.2 anglers are ages 15 and younger, and
about three quarters of them male, "an especially attractive
group for marketers." Buckley calls General Mills' decision
to put a pro fishing champ on a national Wheaties box "a
breakthrough" that sends "a powerful message to mass
marketers." General Mills joins a list of "nontraditional"
sponsors that includes Coca-Cola, Fuji film and Citgo.
Citgo even "shelved its usual regional promotion" tied to a
PGA Tour event in Hartford, CT, this year in favor of one
built around the Wal-Mart FLW bass tournament slated for
June. Teamed with other tournament sponsors, Citgo will be
giving away a truck, soft drinks and merchandise coupons
redeemable at Wal-Mart (J. Taylor Buckley, USA TODAY, 3/25).