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Elite Cancellations

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I  just saw on another site that the Elite Series is now 8 events due to the slumping economy. :o

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Thanks for supplying the link!  I was a little wary of posting it because I had a post removed because I gave the name of the other website.  Didn't think to use their link!

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Thanks for supplying the link! I was a little wary of posting it because I had a post removed because I gave the name of the other website. Didn't think to use their link!

That can be confusing, it's a gray area. Certain sites are approved,

some are not and screened by our system, others are not allowed,

but not screened.

Get it? No...

Generally, other fishing forums are not allowed. Advertising, self

promotion or affiliation is not allowed. Any time a member attempts

to subvert the system screens, the post is edited or deleted. An

example would be BassResource(dot)com. Additional restrictions

are on a case-by-case basis.

-Kent a.k.a. roadwarrior

Global Moderator

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Here is the write up for it:

Another Format Change

BASS Drops Three, Adds Two New "12-Mans"

Friday, January 09, 2009

Photo: BASS

If there's been one theme of the Bassmaster Tour since ESPN's purchase of BASS in 2001, it's certainly "change."

The Tour was expanded to 8 events with a western swing, then changed back to six events with four standalone Elite 50s. Then it became the 11-event Bassmaster Elite Series with three Majors, then the 11-event Elite Series with no Majors. Then it was molded into the 11-event Elite Series without co-anglers, and today, it became (for at last 1 year) the eight-event Elite Series with a two-event postseason.

The 2009 Bassmaster Elite Series will be comprised of eight regular-season events, with two standalone postseason events that'll feature the Top 12 in the Angler of the Year (AOY) race who'll compete against each other for the AOY title.

Fans of NASCAR will notice an immediate similarity to the Chase for the Cup format.

Why The Change?

Although BASS under ESPN ownership certainly hasn't shied from change, today's news is somewhat of a departure, as it comes just 6 weeks before the Bassmaster Classic and the official start of the 2009 season.

The change, according to BASS, is a reaction to the current economic climate.

In summary, BASS cut three of its already scheduled Elite Series events, and also trimmed entry fees and payouts for the remaining events.

Many anglers experienced severe cuts in their sponsorship support over the off-season, and faced what some would term crippling entry fees for the Elite Series (previously set at $57,000-plus). Along with travel expenses, most pros figured to shell out about $100,000 in expenses in 2009.

BASS's format change saves anglers considerable money in entry fees (about $25,000), and assuredly saves BASS and its sponsors considerable money too with less overhead for personnel, equipment and site management

BASS already faced a reduced revenue stream due to the unconfirmed but expected departure of key sponsor Advance Auto Parts. There's also the rumored departure of BASS sponsor Purolator. Plus, BASS no longer will receive co-angler entry fees for the Elite Series, since the Series in now a pro-only format.

A BASS official told another site that yes, the elimination of the three regular-season events was precipitated by the current economic climate, but a major factor too was feedback from its constituents.

"This move was spurred on by the amount of feedback we had due to the challenging economic climate from all constituents the feedback was wanting to move in this direction," a BASS official told another site. "We gathered feedback as much as possible from very different areas, and this was the decision we made after we analyzed our feedback."

Select anglers were asked by BASS for feedback about format and economic relief, and that fueled the rumors of the past several weeks that event cuts were coming. Not all anglers were consulted, though.

"We received feedback from a cross-section of a number of different anglers across the Elite Series, and bounced things off of them," the BASS official told another site. "Many (pros) expressed an interest in doing something along these lines."

BASS VP and GM Tom Ricks noted in a press release today: "We've had a number of productive discussions with Elite anglers and various stakeholders and determined that much like everyone else in this challenging economy, our sport and anglers have been impacted. We feel this decision's in the best interest of the industry, our anglers and sponsors."

Why Those Three?

BASS chose to cancel Pickwick in Alabama (May 1417), Bays de Noc in Michigan (July 2326), and Champlain in New York (August 69).

Geographically speaking, the original schedule included three Alabama events and two New York events.

In the case of Alabama, the three events were scheduled within a stone's throw of each other Pickwick, Wheeler and Guntersville are all Tennessee River impoundments in the same region of the state.

It's therefore not surprising that one of the Alabama events was dropped.

However, the loss of Champlain is a little curious, since Oneida in Syracuse, N.Y., which immediately preceded Champlain, will now be the season-ender. Champlain's a few hours down the highway from Oneida and is a perennial pro and fan-favorite venue.

In years past, BASS pros who wanted to fish more than eight events might have registered for additional FLW Tour events. Pickwick was scheduled over the FLW Tour's Wal-Mart Open at Beaver Lake, but the FLW Tour this year has gone to a locked-field format and doesn't permit single-event entries.

However, because the dates for Oneida were changed to July 30-Aug. 2, Elite Series pros could conceivably add the Dardanelle Eastern FLW Series to their schedule, which occurs in the immediate week following Oneida. That's a long drive, though.

About the decision of which events to cancel, the BASS official said: "There were lots of criteria (used) to determine which events we took out. Some of those are travel and lodging, fan experience, sponsor activation, media exposure and tournament operations. A lot of things went into that decision on top of angler travel and lodging expenses."

The Postseason

Given that only 12 anglers will compete in the postseason events, it's reasonable to assume that BASS would institute its "hole-course" format which it used for the Majors and other past BASS specialty events.

While the hole-course format is easier to televise, since pros are in predictable, limited locations, the format has never been a favorite of fans.

The same BASS official said a decision on the competition format has not yet been made. The schedule will be announced at a future date, he added, at which time the format will likewise be announced.

Also yet to be determined are locations and dates for the two postseason events. A likely timeframe would be early fall. September's when the bite generally improves, and the Elite Series has typically sought to fish strong bites. It's also a relative downtime in pro fishing, since the Elite Series season now ends Aug. 69 and the Forrest Wood Cup will have likewise concluded.

However, late August remains a likely timeframe as well.

Other Angles

According to BASS, the addition of the postseason events is an additional effort to promote the AOY race. Remember that when BASS cancelled its Majors, it did pump more money into the AOY race. "The idea behind the new format is to put more focus on the AOY race," the BASS official told another site. "We think it's one of the most prestigious honors in the sport, so to continue to focus on that is a good thing from our perspective."

Is there any discussions underway to trim the Bassmaster Opens or Women's Bassmaster Tour in any way? No, according to BASS.

A critical component of the Elite Series is television coverage via The Bassmasters, which runs Saturday mornings on ESPN2. According to BASS, there will be no loss of original TV hours dedicated to the tour as a result of the cuts. Instead, each post-season event will receive a 1-hour show, and an additional 1-hour original show will focus on the AOY race.

Is there any effort at BASS to bring format stability to the tour level, rather than continue to change each year? "Obviously, stability is something that we'd like to have, but right now we're operating in challenging times," the official said. "This move was spurred on mostly by those challenging times. "This is the fourth year of the Elite Series, and the initial thoughts and objectives behind the Elite Series are still in place. There'll still be the same amount of TV hours. There'll still be the brand-building opportunities for anglers to build viable careers."

Will the cut to eight events be permanent? No, according to the official, who said that BASS is still "operating under the assumption (it'll) fulfill that 2010 schedule," which was released last summer.

What about the fact that the elimination of Michigan and New York events again puts a heavy geographic emphasis on the southern portion of the U.S.? The BASS official pointed to next year's schedule, which (assuming it remains the same) includes two stops in California, two in New York, plus a visit to Oklahoma.

What's the new payout look like? The AOY payout remains the same a purse of over $1 million, which includes $250,000 for the winner. And 1st place remains the same for each event ($100,000). However, payouts are now substantially reduced through the rest of the field. The top finishing positions behind 1st are each cut by about $5,000, and 26th through 50th pays $5,000 (vs. the previously announced $10,000). For the full payout table, see below.

What about BASS Marshalls who've paid for any or all of the cancelled events? They're entitled to a full refund, according to BASS, or may elect to have their fees transferred to another event.

Might some pros drop out of the Elite Series given the change? Not likely, since the FLW Tour is now full. However, BASS did delay the release of its final Elite Series field list. The list was initially planned for release today, but will now be unveiled Jan. 20.


> To view the BASS press release announcing the changes, click here.

Revised 2009 Bassmaster Elite Series Schedule

> March 12-15 Battle on the Border (Lake Amistad; Del Rio, Texas)

> March 26-29 Diamond Drive (Lake Dardanelle; Russellville, Ark.)

> April 2-5 Dixie Duel (Wheeler Lake; Decatur, Ala.)

> April 23-26 Blue Ridge Brawl (Smith Mountain Lake; Moneta, Va.)

> May 7-10 Southern Challenge (Lake Guntersville; Guntersville, Ala.)

> June 3-6* Tennessee Triumph (Kentucky Lake; Paris, Tenn.)

> June 11-14 River Rumble (Mississippi River; Fort Madison, Iowa)

> July 30-Aug. 2 Champion's Choice (Oneida Lake; Syracuse, N.Y.)

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Man....thats crazy. At least 88 elite anglers are going to have 3 less chances to make some money. They'll probably go find an FLW tournament to get in though....

It seems to be a very responsible, very good move though. There are not many people in the country that are not being affected already, even if only by the uncertainty of not knowing what is going to happen in the next year, and this will save sponsors a LOT of money...but...again, the anglers...do you think this is a good move on their behalf?????? Or more geared toward helping sponsors???    

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squid, Thanks for posting that. It's a sign of the times and it doesn't surprise me any. I wondered what some of the repurcutions would be from no entry fees from the co's and the loss of sponserships. Now we know.

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"you know its hard out here for a pimp,

when your tryin' to get the money for the rent,

'fo the cadillac and gas money's spent

theres a whole lot of b****es jumpin' ship"

tough to be an angler when you can make every payday and still not make a living.

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I completely agree with the reduction in the number of tournaments BUT I am appauled by the EXTREME reduction in the pay outs.  I have always said that the key to sustainability in this sport would be to grow the lower check places.  They have cut them in half but only cut the entry fees by 20%.  Something is fishing and it's not the last weigh in bag that someone left out in the sun.  I have aspired to fish professionally one day since I was 12 (going on 16 years) but if this continues after this year then that dream has been squashed!  I don't know how BASS can't see that if the guys are paying $4k to enter the tournament then they have to pay mre than $5k to 26th-50th place.  That $1k won't even cover the gas bill for most lakes for a week of fishing and drive time.  Poor business decision for a fisherman to expect to break even atleast.  We all know that you can't pay your bills without money.  BASS is probably getting ready to kiss 30 or so of its "customers" good by and end up with the Elite 75 they were hoping for.  Sorry for the rant but I don't like what I see. I will have faith that things will change because I do believe in ESPN/BASS unlike many.

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I agree that the reduced schedule is understandable but the reduction in payouts was a bad move. I predict that this will be a deal killer for several pros and they will withdraw. BASS will then respond by increasing the lower level payouts and asking the withdrawing anglers to reconsider. They should also redirect AOY money to the payouts. It's not like reducing the AOY from 1 mil to 500 k is a bad payout. That is still life changing money for most of those guys (except KVD).

Matt Herron was interviewed on another site. Can you imagine how you would feel to put all that time, money, and energy in to crossing over from FLW to the Elites and then BASS blind-sides you with this a few weeks before the season starts? I feel bad for him.

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