Outdoor Channel, Pro Anglers Form ‘MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING'
VanDam, Reese, Iaconelli, Klein among select group to compete in a new game, with new rules and no limits
TULSA, Okla. – Declaring the creation of a new game, with new rules and no limits, Outdoor Channel, America’s Leader in Outdoor TV, and 24 of the world’s premiere competitive bass fishing anglers have come together to form MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING. This new sports organization will feature competitive bass fishing events designed to bring high-intensity challenges to the competitors and entertainment, as well as insight, to audiences.
Under the new format, anglers will compete with no limit on the number of “legal” fish they can weigh and will not be allowed to begin the events with stored, user-generated GPS waypoints. The anglers will have access to a real-time leader board in their boats, showing them where they rank in the standings at any given time. In another twist, anglers will not be allowed any on-site practice time before MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING events.
“Major League Fishing will offer sports fans a unique way to view bass fishing competitions with production features that go beyond just fishing to focus on the personalities, struggles, strategies, conflicts and emotions of the anglers,” said Outdoor Channel CEO and President Roger Werner. “Outdoor Channel is proud to be involved in this project from the ground floor and we see an outstanding future in this partnership. This latest venture reflects Outdoor Channel’s ongoing commitment to innovative, high-quality content that our core and loyal base of viewers has come to expect from us.”
MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING competitors include household names in the pro fishing industry, including seven Bassmaster Classic champions, eight Bassmaster Anglers of the Year and a three-time FLW champion, in addition to a host of other multiple-time winners of major tournaments. Former Bassmaster Angler of the Year Gary Klein and 2007 Bassmaster Classic champion Boyd Duckett were instrumental in putting together the innovative format.
“It is like nothing we’ve ever done or seen at this level, and I can assure you the anglers are excited about this,” Klein said.
“The format is exciting, and the television production will be top-notch,” Duckett said. “Our goal was to put together a group of the most influential anglers in the business, and we have done that. They understand we’re offering something that will enhance the way the public views our sport.”
Skeet Reese, a former Bassmaster Angler of the Year and Bassmaster Classic champion, called MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING “a new frontier.”
“What your grandfather did, your father did, and what I did last week in tournament fishing has been around for decades,” Reese said. “If you want to see a new, fun and exciting format that will take competitive fishing to a new level, then you’ve got to check out Major League Fishing.”
Jim Wilburn, founder and chairman of the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Winnercomm production company, has been named general manager of MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING. Don Rucks, a former B.A.S.S. general manager, will serve as the league commissioner.
“I’ve been involved for many years with sporting events of all kinds, and I can honestly say that I’ve never been more excited about a project than I am about Major League Fishing,” Wilburn said. “We have a great concept, and we have the enthusiastic participation of the best anglers in the world. I believe this is going to be extraordinary.”
A weeklong event – the MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING CHALLENGE CUP - will be held later this year. The event will be broken down into episodes and aired in the second quarter of 2012 on the Outdoor Channel.
MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING Competitors
About MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING
MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING is a partnership of 24 of the world’s most talented, influential professional bass anglers and the Outdoor Channel. For more information about the new game, with new rules and no limits, please visit: www.majorleaguefishing.com.
About Outdoor Channel Holdings, Inc.
Outdoor Channel Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: OUTD) owns and operates Outdoor Channel, America's leader in outdoor TV, and Winnercomm Inc., an Emmy Award winning production and interactive company. Outdoor Channel offers programming that captures the excitement of hunting, fishing, shooting, off-road motorsports, adventure and the Western lifestyle and can be viewed on multiple platforms including high definition, video-on-demand, as well as on a dynamic broadband website. Winnercomm Inc. is one of America's leading and highest quality producers of live sporting events and sports series for cable and broadcast television. Winnercomm also owns and operates the patented Skycam and CableCam aerial camera systems which provide dramatic overhead camera angles for major sports events, including college and NFL football. For more information, please visit www.outdoorchannel.com.