Called the GEICO Selects, the events will be filmed this year and televised early in 2015 by Outdoor Channel, America’s Leader In Outdoor TV. Prior to their television run, the two events – the Summit Select and the Challenge Select – will be aired as extended-coverage, web-based broadcasts.
The new Major League Fishing anglers are: Scott Ashmore, Brent Chapman, Jason Christie, Keith Combs, Ott DeFoe, Kurt Dove, Paul Elias, Todd Faircloth, Randy Howell, Andy Montgomery, Cliff Pace, Brandon Palaniuk, Keith Poche, Marty Robinson, Mark Rose, Casey Scanlon, Morizo Shimizu, Kevin Short, Fletcher Shryock, Michael Simonton, Scott Suggs, Gerald Swindle, James Watson and Jacob Wheeler.
“Major League Fishing has been successful beyond our most hopeful expectations,” said Major League Fishing General Manager Jim Wilburn. “In fact, I’ve never seen a sports property gain the kind of momentum that Major League Fishing earned in such a short period of time. Our ratings, sponsor support and fan reaction are off the charts.
“As a result, Outdoor Channel and the existing Major League Fishing anglers believe that it is time to expand our reach and our brand,” Wilburn said. “So we’re taking the next logical step, which is to bring in additional quality anglers and produce more events. And we have a terrific partner in GEICO, who understands what we’re doing and wants to be part of our growth.”
GEICO Vice President of Marketing Ted Ward said, “Fishing is one of America’s favorite pastimes, and the sport of angling has grown immensely. We are excited about the possibilities of working with Major League Fishing and promoting the GEICO brand to the vast community of anglers nationwide.”
The Selects will serve as companions to the Major League Fishing Summit Cup and Challenge Cup, which began their television run on Outdoor Channel in 2012. Major League Fishing has filmed five events. Four have been aired on Outdoor Channel. The fifth will be broadcast during the second quarter this year.
Wilburn also announced that six anglers from the Summit Select event will advance to compete in the companion Major League Fishing Summit Cup, which will feature the original 24 MLF anglers. Also, six anglers will advance from the Challenge Select to compete in Major League Fishing’s Challenge Cup.
“The Selects will feature intense competition and stand on their own,” Wilburn said. “But this also means that traditional Major League Fishing events will grow from 24 anglers to 30.”
The Selects competition will employ the popular Major League Fishing format, which places leaderboards in the boats with anglers at all times. During Major League Fishing competition, anglers are not allowed to practice and have only 15 minutes of scouting time on the water before events begin.
Though the Selects will be televised as early as January 2015, fans will be able to see the competition as early as October 2014, when the series becomes available via Extended Cast, a two-hour-plus, web-based version of the show.
Major League Fishing angler Gary Klein said that the original 24 league anglers unanimously endorsed the addition of the Selects and 24 new anglers.
“We believe that we always need to make sure we keep Major League Fishing moving forward, and we think the Selects will be great for both Major League Fishing and the fishing industry as a whole,” Klein said. “I can’t wait to see what happens, and I’m also looking forward to bringing six more anglers into our field.”