General Tire will sponsor the newly created Major League Fishing General Tire World Championship, presented by Bass Pro Shop. The event will pit 12 of the world’s top bass anglers against one another in six days of competition that will culminate in the crowning of a world champion. The televised matches will air on CBS and CBS Sports Network in 2017 marking the largest and first-ever consecutive six-week bass fishing series to run on national broadcast television.
“We are truly excited to have our General Tire brand as the title sponsor of this new championship with Major League Fishing,” said Travis Roffler, director of marketing for General Tire. “The MLF format is already such an entertaining way to watch bass fishing and now this new championship is only going to increase the level of intensity and excitement of the sport. We can’t wait to get this kicked off and see how it plays out. It’s going to be somewhat stressful for the anglers but really fun for everyone else to watch.”
The six one-hour MLF championship episodes will begin airing Saturday, June 24, 2017, at 2 p.m. EST on CBS.
“This has been a dream of mine since the beginning when conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder, Johnny Morris first asked me what we could do to bring the sport of bass fishing to a broader audience,” said Jim Wilburn, MLF general manager. “With this new competition and the partnership with CBS, we’re finally achieving that dream and look forward to sharing the sport with an even wider audience than before. Major League Fishing is a trail blazer and this is just one more ground breaking first!”
"We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Major League Fishing," said Stan Lippelman, Bass Pro Shops vice president of marketing. "We have been a part of MLF since its inception as an innovative new approach to tournament fishing. Major League Fishing has breathed new life into competitive fishing and has quickly built a strong following. We are excited to partner with them on the World Championship to introduce this exciting format to an even larger national audience with CBS and CBS Sports Network."
The 12 anglers to compete in the World Championship will be determined according to MLF anglers' final point standings accumulated from their participation in 2016 and 2017 Cup events. The 12 championship contenders will be announced at the conclusion of the 2017 Challenge Cup in June, the last event of the 2017 fishing season.
MLF was developed specifically with television entertainment in mind, making it a great partner for CBS and CBS Sports Network and the national audience the new shows will reach. The broadened scope with new viewers will benefit not only the show and the anglers, many of whom will be seen by a national audience for the first time, but also the sponsors who are making the event possible.
First developed in 2011 through a partnership between the Outdoor Channel and professional anglers, MLF has grown steadily since. In 2015, MLF added a second level of competition with the introduction of its Select events that doubled the scope of the program.
MLF was rated Outdoor Channel's overall No. 1 show for first and second quarter 2016. Its sixth season looks just as promising, kicking off Dec. 31 on the Outdoor Channel with the first airing of the 2017 Summit Select event.
"We always get very excited to air our truly unique, one-of-a-kind, MLF events to an engaged, excited and exponentially growing fan base," said Jim Liberatore, president and CEO of Outdoor Channel. "Fans are finding out in large numbers: if you have not seen an MLF event, you have not seen the future of bass fishing."