Major League Fishing (MLF) announced its merging with Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) into one brand and transitioning all FLW brand assets to MLF.
The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, Toyota Series, Phoenix Bass Fishing League, Abu Garcia College Fishing, and High School Fishing will all carry the MLF logo and will continue the five-biggest-fish format. A new website is scheduled to go live in early 2021.
“Merging the FLW brand under the MLF umbrella is the next logical step in our company’s evolution, which now includes a broader reach than any of us thought possible in our formative years,” MLF BIG5 Executive Vice President and General Manager Kathy Fennel said. “The key to our success lies not in a name but in our unwavering focus on providing the best possible tournaments for anglers, fans, hosts, and sponsors — our family. Uniting with MLF under a single brand makes the whole greater than the sum of the pieces. The letters may be different, but the people and the values will remain the same.”
The FLW organization, known as “Major League Fishing BIG5,” began as Operation Bass. Founded in Kentucky in 1979 by Mike Whitaker, Operation Bass grew to become the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization with five circuits and more than 300 events in 11 countries offering $21 million in awards.
Operation Bass was purchased by Minneapolis businessman Irwin L. Jacobs in 1996 and renamed FLW Outdoors in 2001 to honor Forrest L. Wood and the principles he embodied. FLW became Fishing League Worldwide in 2014 and now includes bass tournaments in Canada, China, Italy, Mexico, Namibia, Korea, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Zimbabwe.
Fishing League Worldwide was acquired by Major League Fishing in November 2019. The acquisition is a significant brand merger that linked a tour with original programming featuring top professional anglers around the world.
“The unrivaled television audience paired with unmatched tournament activation, MLF Bass Fishing magazine, a combined social media following in excess of one million fans, the sport’s most comprehensive live on-the-water coverage, and two of the sport’s top websites united under a single brand was a natural progression as the two organizations combine,” said Don Rucks, MLF executive vice president and general manager.