Mercury Marine Joins Operation Bass Team

Gilbertsville, Ky. (Jan. 22, 2001) - Mercury Marine, the global leader in fuel-efficient marine propulsion, has joined the nation's foremost bass tournament organization as one of the official marine engine sponsors replacing Outboard Marine Corporation's Evinrude and Johnson outboards.

"Mercury has supported catch-and-release fishing tournaments for more than 30 years," said John Hoagland, senior vice president of marketing for Mercury Marine. "We are extremely pleased to join Operation Bass as a
sponsor of its high-profile tournament programs. There is no question that Operation Bass has created one of the leading national circuits in bass fishing competition with its popular television coverage and potential angler purses of over $16 million."

Terms of the sponsorship include rights to the $4.4 million Wal-Mart FLW Tour, $2.5 million EverStart Series and $5.7 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing
League. Mercury also becomes official marine engine co-sponsor of the newly formed Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Pepsi and Frito-Lay
and the new Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Series. All told, Mercury will co-sponsor 149 bass and walleye fishing tournaments across the United States.

"We are very excited about working with the world's leader in marine propulsion to further grow the sport of competitive bass fishing," said Irwin L. Jacobs, chairman of Operation Bass. "Mercury Marine is one of the
finest companies in the industry with its state-of-the-art products and leading-edge technology."

Mercury, a leader in the production of low-emission, high-performance outboard engines, will promote its OptiMax and four-stroke engine models at each tournament. Mercury engines will be on one-half of the official boats used during televised events that are broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2 and the Wal-Mart Television Network, which is featured in 2,400 stores nationwide.
Mercury will also receive key advertising placement within each broadcast as well as signage at the events and ads in Bass Fishing magazine, the official publication of Operation Bass.

Significant cross-promotional opportunities with other Operation Bass sponsors including Wal-Mart, CITGO, Coleman, Kellogg's and Ranger Boats also exist for Mercury. On-site activities or interactive displays may also
be developed for use in the popular FLW Tour Family Fun Zone that is set-up in the Wal-Mart parking lot at each tour stop. The Family Fun Zone is a festival that allows sponsors to promote their products to thousands of consumers in an unconventional, entertaining way.

"We anticipate that the Family Fun Zone will allow us to create lasting positive impressions with potential customers," Hoagland said.

Bass fishing is the most popular type of fishing among the nation's 55 million anglers. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the number of days annually spent fishing for bass among millions of anglers 16 and older has increased to 196 million, up 21 percent since 1991.

Research also shows that bass anglers are, on average, wealthier and more educated than the U.S. population as a whole, making the group a prime consumer base for Mercury and other manufacturers of premium products.

Anglers, in general, spend nearly $40 billion annually in pursuit of their sport. This number represents a 37 percent increase since 1991 and signals an impressive opportunity for traditional industry sponsors and non-endemic
sponsors alike. Further research shows additional good news for Mercury in that purchases of special equipment such as boats and engines have increased 123 percent since 1991.

"Anglers are passionate about their sport and extremely loyal to the companies and brands that support it," Jacobs said. "Sponsoring events such as ours should have a tremendously positive influence on consumer
purchases of specific brands."

To date, Operation Bass has assembled what arguably is the strongest lineup of sponsors in professional fishing thanks to exclusive deals with leading consumer goods companies. Sponsors of the company's flagship Wal-Mart FLW
Tour series are ALPO Pet Foods, BFGoodrich Tires, Black & Decker, Chevrolet, CITGO, Coleman, Energizer, EverStart Batteries, Frito-Lay, Fujifilm, Kellogg 's, Land O'Lakes, Lowrance, Mercury Marine, Minn Kota, Pepsi, Plano
Tackle Systems, Poulan, Ranger Boats, Shop-Vac, Snickers Cruncher Bar, Timex, US Bank, Visa, Wal-Mart, Weed Eater, Wrangler and Yamaha Outboards. ACT II
microwave popcorn is an associate sponsor.

For more information on Operation Bass, visit or
call 270-362-4880. For more information on Mercury Marine, visit