July 26, 2012
TULSA, Okla. – Jack Link’s Major League Fishing announced today that the Championship Round of its next event - the Summit Cup - will air on NBC. The broadcast is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, at 1 p.m.
The Championship Round will re-air on Outdoor Channel, America’s Leader In Outdoor TV, the following week. The first five rounds of the Summit Cup leading up to the championship will be telecast exclusively on Outdoor Channel.
“We’re delighted to announce that our final round will air on NBC,” MLF General Manager Jim Wilburn said. “Our goal is to offer Major League Fishing’s unique brand of competition to a broad audience. We believe that our innovative format, along with the compelling and diverse personalities of our anglers, will appeal to sports fans, not just fishing fans. We believe this broadcast on NBC moves us a big step in that direction.”
Major League Fishing – a partnership involving the world’s top anglers and Outdoor Channel – offers intense bass fishing events designed to bring high-level challenges to 24 competitors. The six-day Summit Cup, with competition scheduled for later this year, will be transformed into an action-packed television series. Each show will capture anglers’ efforts as they utilize a demanding format that allows them to weigh all “scoreable bass” they catch.
The Championship Round of the Summit Cup airing on NBC is the culmination of two prior elimination rounds of competition that can only be seen on Outdoor Channel. Round 1, Elimination Rounds, follows 24 anglers over three days, where half of the competitors are eliminated. Then, after the two-day, Round 2 Sudden-Death event, only six competitors will advance.
The one-day Championship Round then caps the six days of competition as the final six anglers battle it out. Under MLF’s new format, anglers know where they rank in the standings via real-time leaderboards in the boats. Anglers are not allowed to practice before events and will not know the destination of the Summit Cup until two days before the event.
Wilburn called the relationship between Major League Fishing and Outdoor Channel a “terrific long-term partnership.” Wilburn added that the fresh approach and incredible popularity of Major League Fishing’s inaugural event, which recently completed a 13-week run on Outdoor Channel, led league and network officials, as well as participating anglers, to seek a broader audience for the Summit Cup finals.
“We all agree that we’ve got a great product in Major League Fishing,” Wilburn said. “We want to deliver this product to as many potential viewers as possible.”
Pro angler Gary Klein, one of Major League Fishing’s creators, said that NBC’s airing of the Summit Cup finals is “an extremely important move” for the league. Klein echoed Wilburn’s sentiments about MLF’s long-term goals.
“From the beginning, one of our goals has been to present Major League Fishing to a traditional network television audience,” Klein said. “Our vision is to reach out to sports fans that are not ordinarily exposed to pro fishing. We want a wider audience to see what we have to offer. This is great news.”
“Outdoor Channel has been proud to be a part of the Major League Fishing project from the beginning. We came together to create a new sports organization to highlight the unique sport of competitive bass fishing and now we look forward to seeing the show mature and reach a broader viewership base with the latest move to air the finals on NBC,” Outdoor Channel CEO and President Tom Hornish said. “We are also excited to air the next season of ‘Jack Link's Major League Fishing’ in early 2013 on our network, where we have an ongoing commitment to showcasing innovative, quality content that entertains our audience.”