For Immediate Release March 31, 2005
BASS Introduces Sweeping Changes for 2006
Montgomery, Ala. - BASS, the worldwide authority on bass fishing,
announced sweeping changes, including a new format for the 2006
CITGO Bassmaster Tour, a revolutionary tiered entry fee system that
will change the way competitive fishing is staged and new criteria
by which anglers will qualify for the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Classic
and next year's three other BASS "majors."
The changes include:
* Increased tournament payouts
* Revolutionary tiered entry fees with a reduced base cost per event
* New qualifying criteria
* Increased fishing opportunities on days three and four with new
* Increased field size
* And, as previously announced, an expanded Tour season, the debut
of the "majors" and the rescheduling of the CITGO Bassmaster Classic
"We're providing more and better opportunities for anglers to
establish viable long-term careers. These changes have been a long
time in coming and will only help to build and strengthen our
sport," said BASS General Manager Don Rucks.
This is the next stage of BASS' long-term aggressive growth plan,
building on January's announcement of expansive changes to BASS
tournament programs for the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail,
including an increase from six to 11 Tour events, the development of
three individual "majors" that will replace the Elite 50 Series, the
rescheduling of the sport's premier event - the CITGO Bassmaster
Classic - from its traditional summertime setting to late February
or early March and the dramatic increase of prize monies in the
Classic and the majors.
Increased Tournament Payouts
BASS is raising the bar with tournament payouts, increasing not only
the total amount to be paid, but also the percentage of each
tournament field that will cash a check at the end of each event.
In 2006, BASS Tournament Trail events (Tour, Majors, Opens, the
Classic and individual awards) will pay $15,051,525 to anglers, up
46 percent ($4,745,375) from 2005 and up 124 percent ($8,339,025)
from 2001, when ESPN purchased BASS.
CITGO Bassmaster Tour events presently pay the top 75 places. In
2006, the top 125 places will be paid and the overall payout will
increase by $75,475 per event - up 16.8 percent. The total increase
for next season is $830,225.
The new BASS majors - the Bassmaster Memorial, Bassmaster American
and Bassmaster Legends - will offer a total purse of over $2
million, including a first-place prize of $250,000 per event, while
requiring no entry fees from competitors. Similarly, the Bassmaster
Classic prize purse will increase from $700,000 to $1 million in
2006, with a first place prize of $500,000.
All rounds of the Classic and final day action from each of the
three majors will air live on ESPN or ESPN2.
When payouts for the new ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Series are
considered, BASS' total payout for all tournament series equals
$22,527,525, up 55 percent ($7,949,375) from 2005 and 236 percent
($15,815,025) from 2001.
New "Cut" Format for Tour Events
Beginning in 2006, Tour events will each have 200 boat fields. The
new format for Tour events increases the field of competitors on the
third day from 12 to 75 boats and increases the final round field
from six to 12 boats.
"We are growing opportunities for professional BASS anglers," added
Rucks. "We are particularly proud of the new cut system which is far
more inclusive than before."
In addition to fishing from their own boats for the first two days
of Tour competition, the 75 semifinalists will be fishing from their
own boats on the third day of competition. For the fourth round of
Tour events, the 12 finalists will compete from Mercury-powered
Triton boats. In recent years, Tour pros have been required to fish
from BASS-sponsor boats in both the third and final rounds.
"We listened to anglers, sponsors and all of our stakeholders to
come up with this fair and equitable system," said Rucks.
"BASS-sponsor branding will be well represented on the boats in the
Top 12 final round, while anglers will have the opportunity to bring
exposure to their individual sponsors through logos and displays on
BASS is the only global fishing league which encourages anglers to
wear their individual sponsors' logos.
Tiered Entry Fees
For as long as there have been fishing tournaments, there have been
entry fees, but with BASS' new "tiered" system there's a break for
anglers who find themselves out of the money. In 2006, BASS Tour
pros will pay $1,800 as an entry fee, down from $1,925 in 2005.
The pros who make the cut to 75 will be given the option of fishing
in the third round by having an additional $1,200 deducted from
their tournament winnings, providing an opportunity to improve their
point standings and move up the money list. Therefore, the anglers
who are having the most success will also share a larger stake in
the event, while those who aren't successful will have a reduced
"Again, we've listened to the anglers and given much thought and
consideration to the development of this system," said Rucks. "Under
it, those having the most success will have the option of paying a
little more to improve their point totals and earn more money, while
those who aren't catching fish will at least catch a break."
Additionally, despite expanding the Tour from six to 11 events, BASS
will continue to require only a $3,000 deposit from each angler for
all 11 Tour events.
Entry fees for Tour non-boaters will be increased from $650 to $750,
and 75 non-boaters will now make the cut to the third round rather
than 12 as in recent years.
BASS will increase the Tour field to 200 professional anglers by
increasing the number of anglers who will qualify from the Opens and
by extending qualifying opportunities to other tournament circuits,
including top performers from BASS Federation, the FLW Tour, and the
WON Bass Tour, among others. The number of qualifying positions to
be awarded from each circuit will be determined and announced at a
Qualifying For the 2006 Classic and Majors
BASS is also pleased to announce that beginning in 2006, the CITGO
Bassmaster Classic will feature a 50-angler field, as follows:
- 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year
- Top 10 finishers from the 2005 Classic
- Top 10 anglers from the 2005 Bassmaster Elite 50 Series
- Top 17 pros from the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Tour
- Top 5 anglers from the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship
- 6 BASS Federation regional champions (up from 5 qualifiers to
reflect addition of one division for 2005 season)
- Top angler from the ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Series championship
In the event of double qualifiers, BASS will invite the top-ranked
anglers from the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Tour points standings who are
not otherwise qualified. The 2005 Angler of the Year will be doubly
rewarded with an automatic berth in both the 2005 and 2006 Classics.
The fields for the 2006 majors will be comprised as follows:
- Top 10 anglers on the all-time BASS money list
- Top 37 anglers from the CITGO Bassmaster Tour based on a
three-year average in Angler of the Year standings
- 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Classic champion
- 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Classic champion
- 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year
- 2005 Toyota Rookie of the Year
The 2007 Classic field will be comprised of 50 anglers, as follows:
- 2006 Classic Champion
- 2006 Angler of the Year
- 2006 ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Series champion
- Top 26 anglers from the CITGO Bassmaster Tour
- Top 5 anglers from the 2006 Open Championship
- Six BASS Federation regional champions
- Top 3 anglers from the Bassmaster Memorial
- Top 3 anglers from the Bassmaster American
- Top 3 anglers from the Bassmaster Legends
- Angler with highest cumulative weight after three majors
In the event of multiple qualifications (anglers qualifying from
more than one criterion), BASS will invite the top-ranked anglers
from the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Tour points standings who are not
BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more
than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO
Bassmaster Tournament Trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite 50
series, is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing
tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for
credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375
or visit www.bassmaster.com.