Major League Fishing Makes Noise With New Eight-Event Tour
Major League Fishing "shook up the professional bass fishing world" yesterday by announcing the launch of a new Bass Pro Tour in '19, according to Kelly Bostian of the TULSA WORLD. The move "likely means big-name anglers will have to choose between existing tours" like B.A.S.S. and FLW and the new tour. MLF in '19 will have the "top market for televised bass fishing and, possibly, 80 of the profession’s top anglers for programs to air on Outdoor Channel, CBS, CBS Sports Network and Discovery Channel." There will be eight events and a championship with expected payouts "larger than those now available" in B.A.S.S. and FLW due to corporate support from Bass Pro Shops and Outdoor Sportsman Group. MLF GM Jim Wilburn said that the expansion also "means the staff of 20 at MLF offices" in Broken Arrow, Okla., will "add another 40 or 50 people." Wilburn added that the 80 anglers on the roster and the "format and payouts are details to be announced in coming weeks" (TULSA WORLD, 9/12). Bass Pro Shops Founder Johnny Morris said that the company's title sponsorship of the BPT "will not impact its sponsorship interests related to B.A.S.S. or FLW." Bass Pro Shops "currently serves as the presenting sponsor of the Bassmaster Opens and the Bassmaster College Tour as well as FLW’s high school fishing series" (BASSFAN.com, 9/11).