Jacobs Says FLW Will Move Championship Date

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

(4:15 EST, 10/1/03) Irwin Jacobs told BassFan today that he will move the date of the 2004 FLW Tour Championship so it does not conflict with the Bassmaster Classic. "We will definitely not be on top of their tournament," he said.

"Never at any single time did I even dream of the fact that (the FLW Championship) would be on top of BASS," he said. "The fact is that we have tried to find out when their date was going to be. We called up even sponsors who are sponsors of theirs and ours, and they said they didn't know."

Asked whether FLW Outdoors personnel called BASS to find out, he said: "We don't have a dialogue with those people. That's not to say I'm afraid to speak to them, but I don't want to get into what someone should or should've done or didn't do.   The fact is that we (chose the July 28-31 dates) because they were the only dates available to us, and I think (BassFan) confirmed that (with the Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau). We are looking for alternatives to (those dates) there, and there will be options knowing what we know now (the Classic dates). They may not be our first choice or they may be our first choice. But we're now finding out what they are."

What's Best for Everybody

The big question is why Jacobs wants to change the date. He said: "I will not allow us to be in a date that could cause any sponsors, fishermen or spectators the inconvenience or choice of trying to pick one side or the other. I have always said that whoever is involved in the world of fishing should do it the way that's best for the sport, (and) to have something like this happen is not best for the sport."

The dates FLW picked when it rescheduled the FLW Tour championship were "not one-upsmanship or a pre-emptive move to put BASS out of business," he said. "Quite the contrary. We don't wish them -- in spite of what they wish us -- any badwill or any failure in the world of tournament fishing. What's good for the sport is good for everybody.

"The bottom line is that I will confirm that the (FLW Tour Championship) date will not be on top of theirs. They have now put their date out, after the fact, and we will attempt to deal with that in a way that works for everybody, particularly our constituency."

No Fear

Some observers have speculated that BASS might win the war of attracting spectators and the mass media to its championship. But if so, that or any fear that had nothing to do with Jacobs' decision.

"That is preposterous," he said. "The fact is that we're an 8-year-old organization, and (BASS is) a 30-year-old organization. And we're multiple times the size of them, in more ways than one. The fact is we pay out more money. I have a waiting list today of close to 1,000 fishermen waiting to come into the tour." Since the conflicting dates announcement "we received (a call from only) one fisherman (Gary Klein) who requested his (deposits) back, and he's been replaced already. So what would I be afraid of?

"My constituency is all (those) people: fishermen, media, spectators, sponsors, my own people. So I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I will sit on ceremony or some proud ladder and say, 'I'm going to do this because I want to do this.' I'm going to do the right thing, and the right thing is to make sure that I don't put people in a compromising position.

"I don't have to be told what to do to do the right thing," he added. "And this is about doing the right thing -- making sure you don't sit there on pride or ego when it comes to other people's needs. That's basically what I told our people. The bottom line is that I will not do this in a way that (will cause) people (to) look negatively at either one of the organizations."

No Date Yet

The other big question is when the 2004 FLW Tour Championship will take place. "We're working on that, but I'm not in a position today to say when it's going to be," Jacobs said.

"But I will not sit here and let anybody have any anxiety over the fact (that the championships will conflict, whether it be) a spectator, sponsor or participant. We will do the right for all because (everybody has) the same goals."