By Major League Fishing - March 19, 2020
March 19, 2020 (TULSA, Okla.) Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour viewership rises in 2020 before and after the impact of the novel coronavirus on professional sports nationwide. With an abundance of caution, MLF fished through the latest Bass Pro Tour event after putting into place several recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control to minimize the spread of COVID-19. This last week, March 13-18, viewership increased by 20% over Stages One and Two, which were held in February. On their own, the February events reported a significant increase over the 2019 season with a 72% increase in unique tune-ins year-over-year.
“After our first season, we made some minor adjustments to our game that we believe resonated well with fans causing the increase in viewership in February,” said Jim Wilburn, President and CEO of Major League Fishing. “Going into Stage Three last week, we had no idea how much the sports world would change and we’re hopeful that those who tuned into the Bass Pro Tour found a few hours of respite among an unprecedented reality at work and home. Our sport inherently allows social distancing and without a weigh-in, we can broadcast safely via MLFNOW! without crowds.”
Major League Fishing launched the Bass Pro Tour in January 2019 featuring an innovative catch-weigh-immediately-release format with cumulative, real-time scoring that appeals to mainstream sports fans and avid anglers alike. MLF completed the 2019 season with over 111 million minutes of live stream watched by an average of 270,000 unique visitors over nine events. After the first three Stages of the 2020 Bass Pro Tour, MLF averages 471,698 unique visitors and 48 million minutes streamed, an increase of 75% year-over-year. Social media impressions are also up 15% in 2020 over 2019.
The General Tire Stage Three Presented by TrueTimber on Lake Fork, Texas saw the most significant increase with over 19 million minutes watched by 500,000 unique visitors. This represents a 20% increase in unique visitors and an 18% increase in minutes viewed over Stage Two February 21-26, 2020. The Bass Pro Tour trended on social media (Facebook and Instagram) during Stage Three with a 72% increase in social media impressions compared to Stage Two.
While the increases in Stage Three viewership may have been impacted by the national quarantine surrounding COVID-19, the first two Stages of the Bass Pro Tour also saw significant increases over the 2019 season. The MLFNOW! live stream attracted over 886,000 unique viewers over two events for a total of 30 million minutes, which represented an increase of 72% year-over-year and an 89% over 2019 averages.
Bass Pro Tour Competition Details:
Major League Fishing (MLF) pro Ott DeFoe charged from behind with 18 catches in the third period to win $100,000 and the Bass Pro Tour General Tire Stage Three Presented by TrueTimber title. After leading for much of the week including the first two periods of Wednesday’s Championship Round, Mark Daniels, Jr. fell to third with 39 pounds, 2 ounces. Alton Jones, Jr. changed his game midway through the second period to finish in second place overall. The MLF Bass Pro Tour is scheduled to continue in Raleigh April 3-8, 2020.
For complete results of the General Tire Stage Three presented by TrueTimber, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com, Bass Pro Tour, Results.
The Bass Pro Tour continues April 3-8, 2020 with the Berkley Stage Four Presented by Covercraft in Raleigh, N.C. In response to COVID-19, Major League Fishing has canceled all public gatherings associated with their tournaments per recommendations from Public Health and medical professionals.
About the Bass Pro Tour
The Bass Pro Tour began in 2019 and features 80 of the best professional anglers in the world, including Kevin VanDam, Edwin Evers, Aaron Martens, Mike Iaconelli, Jordan Lee, and Skeet Reese. Each stage includes six days of competition using the Major League Fishing, catch-weigh-and-immediately-release format, where every bass over a variable minimum weight, which is two pounds on Lake Eufaula for Stage One, toward a cumulative weight total for the day. Variable minimum weights are determined by fishery akin to a golf course handicap. The field of 80 anglers is divided into two groups (Group A and B) of 40 to compete in the Qualifying Round where a two-day cumulative weight total determines the winners. The winners of Groups A and B receive automatic berths to the Championship Round and the anglers finishing in places 2-19 (38 total) advance to the Knockout Round on day five. The top eight from the Knockout Round join the winners in Groups A and B (field of 10) to compete in the Championship Round and a shot at the $100,000 top prize and Stage Title.
Each of eight Stages of the Bass Pro Tour have the following payout schedule: 1st $100,000; 2nd $42,000; 3rd $30,000; 4th $24,000; 5th $18,000; 6th $16,800; 7th $15,600; 8th $14,400; 9th $13,200; 10th $12,000; 11th – 40th $6,000; Big Bass Daily $1,000; Big Bass Overall $1,000.
In addition to the economic impact on a host community, Major League Fishing showcases the region through their award-winning, live and linear programming. Each Stage of the Bass Pro Tour is broadcast live on the Major League Fishing app, MyOutdoorTV (MOTV), and majorleaguefishing.com, totaling more than 325 hours of original programming. Fans can follow the fast-paced nature of the MLF format as it unfolds on the live leaderboard through “SCORETRACKER® updates.” Highlights from each Stage of the 2020 Bass Pro Tour will air on Discovery Network beginning in July 2020 and Sportsman Channel in early 2021.
“MLF offers the strongest broadcast presence in the industry to fans and sponsors,” said Jim Wilburn, president and CEO of Major League Fishing. “And with these lakes planned for this coming Bass Pro Tour, we know 2020 will be our best year yet as we continue to capture a broad audience of both longtime fishing fans and those new to the sport, thanks to our fast-paced, fan-friendly format.”
About Major League Fishing
Founded in 2011, Major League Fishing (MLF) brings the high-intensity sport of competitive bass fishing into America’s living rooms on Outdoor Channel, Discovery, CBS, CBS Sports Network, World Fishing Network, Sportsman Channel, and on-demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). The Bass Pro Tour consists of eight events and a championship streamed live on www.MajorLeagueFishing.com and MOTV.
In late 2019 MLF acquired FLW, which expands their portfolio to include the world’s largest grassroots fishing organization, including the strongest five-fish format professional bass fishing tour, the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, as well as the Toyota Series, Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine, and Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI, and High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing.
For more information on the league and anglers, visit www.MajorLeagueFishing.com and follow MLF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.