An overwhelming majority of Federation presidents voted to accept a proposal from FLW Outdoors that was presented by FLW Outdoors Chairman Irwin L. Jacobs during a Jan. 8 meeting in Orlando, Fla. The vote was 30 to 4 in favor of accepting the proposal, with 14 presidents abstaining. Robert Cartlidge, president of The Bass Federation Inc., expects a majority of those 14 presidents to accept the proposal within the next 10 days after further consultation with their constituents.
"After our meeting with everyone from FLW Outdoors, it was clear what we needed to do," Cartlidge said. "To a person, we felt at home. We could tell that we were among people of like values; people of like minds; people who share our concern for the nation's youth and conservation. Beyond that, our members will now have 14 opportunities to advance beyond the Federation National Championship compared to the six opportunities we currently have. There are so many opportunities for our Federation members to continue doing what they are doing with people of like views that it was too powerful to pass up. We look forward to forging ahead in our new association with the most respected names in the industry."
The only Federation chapters voting to decline the offer were Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Ontario.
"This is a true milestone in the history of our sport that will provide unmatched opportunity for generations of future bass anglers," Jacobs said. "FLW Outdoors is proud to forge a mutually beneficial relationship with The Bass Federation and its members worldwide. We look forward to working with the Federation to further elevate their extraordinary work with young anglers and conservation. We also look forward to helping promote a vibrant and independent Federation."
At the heart of the partnership is an agreement by FLW Outdoors to pay as much as $1 million annually to The Bass Federation if all existing Federation members join FLW Outdoors. The $1 million cash payment will be prorated based on the number of Federation members joining. For example, if 90 percent of existing Federation members join FLW Outdoors, the annual cash payment will be $900,000. Additionally, FLW Outdoors will offer cash incentives to state Federation chapters for each new FLW Outdoors tournament member recruited.
Additional benefits FLW Outdoors will provide to The Bass Federation chapters and members include:
* As members of FLW Outdoors, Federation anglers will receive FLW Outdoors Magazine, a 25-percent discount on all FLW Outdoors clothing, special rates on health, boat and personal property insurance, and discounts on consumer electronics, cellular phones, books, health club memberships, motorist assistance programs and kitchen products through FLW Extras.
* Expenses-paid boater and co-angler berths into the Wal-Mart BFL All-American presented by Chevy from each Federation divisional championship. (A total of 12 spots - six boaters and six co-anglers).
* One pro and one co-angler berth into the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup from the Federation National Championship. The Forrest Wood Cup will pay $1 million in cash to the winning pro if the pro is a Ranger Boat owner. Half a million dollars cash will be awarded to the winning pro regardless of the brand of boat the pro owns.
* The Federation National Championship winner will receive a "Living the Dream" slot for one year with fully paid entry fees in the FLW Tour or FLW Series. The Federation National Championship winner will also be furnished with a wrapped "Living the Dream" Ranger boat powered by Yamaha plus a wrapped Chevy truck for use during the tournament season.
* Production and airing of the Federation National Championship to a national audience on FSN (Fox Sports Net).
* Early entry for boaters and co-anglers in all BFL tournaments.
* Early entry for co-anglers in all Stren Series, Wal-Mart FLW Tour and Wal-Mart FLW Series tournaments.
* Guaranteed entry in the Stren Series for all Federation State Champions.v * A boat-buying program through Ranger Boats for all participating Federation chapters that results in a $400 credit to the state Federation for each new Ranger purchased by a Federation member. An additional $400 will be credited if the Ranger boat purchased is powered by Yamaha. These credits are good toward the purchase of a Ranger boat.
* Youth packets, including banners, rods and reels, for use at Federation youth events.
* Participant travel assistance to junior state contenders advancing to a new Junior FLW Outdoors World Championship held during the Forrest Wood Cup.
* A co-sponsored FLW Outdoors/The Bass Federation credit and debit card program to help generate funds for use by state Federation chapters.
* Forrest and Nina Wood, along with FLW Outdoors management, will host a banquet at the Forrest Wood Cup for Federation presidents and The Bass Federation directors.
* Assistance in administration of the Federation National Championship as needed.
* Associate sponsorship of the FLW Tour, FLW Series, Stren Series and BFL at no cost to The Bass Federation.
* FLW Outdoors Magazine will introduce a new department dedicated to coverage of Federation news.
* Product samples and promotional giveaways for use at Federation divisional tournaments.
The Bass Federation has agreed:
* At least 80 percent of The Bass Federation chapters and 80 percent of the clubs in each participating Federation chapter and 80 percent of the members in each participating club will join the partnership and become members of FLW Outdoors. Each Federation chapter will contractually agree to the FLW Outdoors and The Bass Federation partnership for a minimum of five years.
* Category-exclusive sponsorships in each Federation chapter for Wal-Mart, Ranger Boats, Kellogg's, BP, Castrol, Fujifilm, Yamaha, Land O'Lakes, Pure Fishing, M&M Mars, Pedigree and Chevy.
* Display of the FLW Outdoors logo on all materials printed by The Bass Federation and Federation chapters.
* Recognition of Ranger Boats as the Federation's official boat. For state Federations with existing arrangements with other boat brands, the Ranger exclusivity clause will become effective when the existing boat company deal expires or within one year, whichever comes first.
* Management of all conservation programs for both The Bass Federation and FLW Outdoors.
* Management of all youth programs for both The Bass Federation and FLW Outdoors.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $36.5 million through 235 events in 2006.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournament programs, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.
Wal-Mart and many of America's largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world's leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Wal-Mart.com.