Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization. The Letter of Intent (LOI) sets in motion the most significant brand merger in competitive bass fishing history, linking a tour and original, award-winning programming featuring the top professional anglers in the world to an extensive grassroots organization that serves tens of thousands of competitive anglers from high school and college students to weekenders and tour pros.
“We’re thrilled about welcoming FLW to the MLF team,” said Jim Wilburn, President and CEO of Major League Fishing. “FLW shares our commitment to creating tournaments and opportunities centered on the success of the angler. Through this acquisition, we are better positioned to support anglers and sponsors at all levels.”
“Our business plan always included reaching all levels of grassroots fishing,” said Boyd Duckett, MLF co-founder and President of the Professional Bass Tour Anglers’ Association (PBTAA). “FLW does it best with the Tour and grassroots tournaments; their reputation in competitive bass fishing is remarkable, and their culture has always been pro-angler, which makes this the perfect opportunity for both organizations. We couldn’t be more excited about FLW: their team, anglers and sponsors.”
“This announcement marks a thrilling new chapter in FLW’s history as we join Major League Fishing and begin a new era in the sport of competitive bass fishing,” said FLW President of Operations Kathy Fennel. “As part of the Major League Fishing team, we look forward to enhancing and expanding tournament offerings to our anglers and fans. Our teams have a very similar mission and vision – to support anglers at all levels, provide the industry with unmatched opportunities, and grow the sport. The complementary strengths of our organizations make this a win for the entire sport.”
Established in 2011, MLF began as a television product and has grown into a sports league with the launch of the Bass Pro Tour in January 2019. MLF is a partnership between the PBTAA and Outdoor Sportsman Group (OSG), a division of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.
“As MLF continues to grow, we’re committed to finding the right opportunities to extend the Outdoor Sportsman Group properties,” OSG President and CEO Jim Liberatore said. “Through this acquisition, MLF can leverage our extensive media reach and award-winning content production to promote competitive bass fishing at all levels.”
Each year FLW offers thousands of anglers of all skill levels across the globe the opportunity to compete for millions of dollars in prize money in five tournament circuits. Under the leadership of Irwin Jacobs, FLW expanded the top level of competition to include the industry’s first seven-figure purse.
“It has been our mission since my father, Irwin Jacobs, purchased FLW in 1996 to bring the highest quality of tournaments to anglers, sponsors and fans around the world,” said Trish Blake, FLW President of Marketing. “By joining forces with Major League Fishing, the sport of professional tournament fishing will be taken to new heights for anglers across the world at all levels.”
Major League Fishing and Fishing League Worldwide anticipate an acquisition close date of October 31, 2019.