FLW Announces 2015 FLW Tour Enhancements, Entry Dates
FLW Announces 2015 FLW Tour Enhancements, Entry DatesIn order to help Walmart FLW Tour pros build their personal brand identities and sponsor portfolios FLW has cut its exclusive sponsor categories from 31 to nine for 2015 and will no longer provide FLW sponsor jerseys on the final day of competition. Pros will now wear their own jerseys every day and will have the option to run an FLW-branded boat instead of an FLW sponsor-wrapped boat on the final day. Pros that have a sponsor in one of the remaining exclusive categories that FLW has not yet filled can also apply for an exemption that will allow the sponsor logo to be displayed throughout the 2015 season.
In a move to better focus media attention on FLW Tour pros, the 2015 field will be capped at 150 boats, down from the 180-boat field that kicked off the 2014 season. Pros not accepted into the field of 150 will have the option to participate in a reserve pool to be called up for the remainder of the season should someone drop out, thus maintaining a consistent field.
Another change that many pros have long desired has also been implemented. In 2015, co-anglers will only compete on the first two days of each FLW Tour qualifier and the Forrest Wood Cup. Then, starting in 2016, the Forrest Wood Cup will be a pro-only event.
“Cutting back on the number of days co-anglers fish and eliminating them from the Forrest Wood Cup beginning in 2016 is not a decision we take lightly,” said Kathy Fennel, FLW president of operations. “Co-anglers are an important part of our business, and we are pleased to continue to provide the best co-angler program in the nation.”
The changes outlined for 2015 help strike a better balance between the desires of most FLW Tour pros, FLW’s business needs and the wishes of co-anglers who enjoy fishing alongside the world’s best anglers.
“These are positive developments as we continue to build on the momentum of ICAST, an incredible 2014 Forrest Wood Cup in Columbia, S.C., newsstand sales that rank FLW Bass Fishing magazine as the best-selling title in its category, and our recent NBC network broadcast success,” said Trisha Blake, FLW president of marketing. “Our goal is to provide a platform that allows pros to market their personal sponsors alongside FLW sponsors in a complementary and uncluttered fashion that is beneficial to all parties. Pros no longer have to choose between money and fame. They can have both at FLW.”
Registration for the 2015 season opens Wednesday for the top 100 pros and co-anglers from the 2014 FLW Tour, top 10 pros and co-anglers from each 2014 Rayovac FLW Series division, and the 2014 BFL All-American champions. These anglers have until Dec. 1, 2014 to secure their priority entry. Ranger boat owners may register beginning Dec. 2, 2014, followed by TBF members Dec. 3, 2014. All other entries will be accepted beginning Dec. 4, 2014. Qualified anglers can register at Fishflw.com or by calling 270.252.1000.
For the first time in five years entry fees will increase slightly from $4,000 to $4,300 per event for pros and from $700 to $800 per event for co-anglers, far less than the fees charged by other professional circuits that offer smaller payouts (both in absolute and percentage terms). Factor in travel costs, and the expense/reward differential is even more striking.
“We are proud to provide a top award at the Forrest Wood Cup that is $200,000 more than that offered in any other championship, and to do so with a smaller field comprised exclusively of FLW Tour anglers and others who have successfully navigated a rigorous multi-stage qualifying process,” said Bill Taylor, senior director of FLW tournament operations. “We are proud to offer the best overall payouts for the lowest overall investment.”
FLW is carrying a lot of momentum into the 2015 season with its redesigned website leading the industry in many key metrics and FLW Bass Fishing magazine growing distribution to more than 11,000 newsstands in the United States and Canada. Through NBC Sports, WFN and international broadcasting partners, the FLW TV show reaches the largest audience in the sport. FLW’s Facebook page and Twitter feed reach more than 330,000 fans, and FLW has a significant following on YouTube and Instagram that others in the sport do not.
The changes announced today open more of this significant media exposure to FLW Tour anglers and their personal sponsors than ever before.
Complete 2015 Walmart FLW Tour Rules
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