By now you’ve heard about the MLF Letter of Intent to purchase FLW. But what does this mean for FLW Tour pros, FLW Series pros, BFL anglers, co-anglers and fans of FLW? Here is a quick rundown of the changes that have been reported to us by anglers and FLW representatives.
FLW Pro Circuit created with new format
As the early morning release stated (see the original MLF Purchasing FLW release here), MLF has signed a letter of intent to purchase FLW. Both parties hope to have the deal concluded by the end of October.
What changes can anglers expect for the 2020 fishing season at FLW?
The FLW Tour will become the FLW Pro Circuit. It will be a 150-angler field with 7 regular season events and an Angler of the Year Championship. The payouts will extend to 75th place so that half the field will get a check. But entry fees also went up to $40,000 a year per angler.
The FLW Pro Circuit events will be six days long. The first three days will be the standard 5-biggest-fish style competition, and the last three days will be two 10-angler knockout rounds and a final 10 angler championship round in the MLF format of catch as many scoreable bass as possible in each period.
The number of days of practice and/or off days have not yet been determined. So each event could be more than a week commitment for anglers.
Costa FLW Series Expands greatly
There will now be eight divisions with three tournaments each of the Costa FLW Series. So 24 tournaments for anglers and co-anglers plus a high-dollar championship for the qualifiers. This should offer anglers a lot of great options to fish closer to home for better payouts with a chance to qualify for a major championship.
The format will stay with the same five-best-fish as in the past.
Entry fees for both boaters and co-anglers will be reduced. Boaters will pay $1,700, and co-anglers will pay $550 (down from $1,900 and $650 in 2019).
BFL reducing entry fees as well
The Bass Fishing League (BFL) is going to keep all the same 24 divisions, number of events in each division and traditional five-fish format. The payouts are going to stay the same. But they are lowering the entry fees back to $200 for boaters and $100 for co-anglers for the regular events and $300/$150 for the Super Tournaments.
There will still be regionals and an All-American as well. So that rich, historic path for grassroots tournament anglers will still be there in the future.
College and High School a major focus
The plans are still being made on the College Fishing and High School Fishing tournament structures, but it has been noted that teams that qualified for events in 2020 can expect to be fishing events next season.
MLF has made it known that they wanted to build a robust high school and college fishing structure as part of their new vision, so we’ll look for more updates on both of those in the near future.
The Merger Makes Sense
On paper, this merger made a lot of sense. MLF has done a good job with sales and non-endemic reach in the last few years, and FLW has the most robust tournament structure ever in the history of bass fishing. So if you’re wanting to build a robust tournament organization, you need a solid foundation to build solid opportunities across all levels. This merger shores up the weaknesses of each company and builds on the strengths of both.
That’s what an ideal merger should do in any business.
It will take a while for anglers at all levels to process this information and we’re sure more details will come out in the next few weeks to help everyone make informed decisions about their tournament fishing for the 2020 season.
Hop over to our Facebook page and let us know what you think about this acquisition/merger.
See more about the changes to the tournaments at FLWFishing.com.