Yesterday FLW Outdoors announced the launch of their new fantasy fishing game (fantasyfishing.com), and as touted it will be the "largest-ever guaranteed cash and prize payout in the history of fantasy sports."
Grand prize for being at the top of the fantasy fishing leaderboard after all seven events is a whopping $1,000,000! That's for picking 10 pro anglers to a roster at each event and hoping you have more guys standing on the podium (as close to the correct order as possible) at the end of the tournament than anybody else. Additionally, big prizes will be given out at each tour stop: $100,000 cash, Chevy trucks, Ranger boats, Yamaha ATVs and PWCs, Wal-Mart gift cards and more. In total the prize purse exceeds $1.7 million. That's some serious cash for any fantasy game. Just think about it: you have a chance to win big cash, a truck and a boat; not just once, but seven times! And for doing nothing but picking 10 dudes to a team!
The game's scoring system is based on several factors, the most important being the finishing order of pros. Obviously, it's important, although not completely dependent upon, playing the game and building upon your point total throughout the season. If, however, you were to join the game late, you can still make up ground and win the million bucks because of a weighted scoring system in the season finale, the Forrest Wood Cup. Conceivably, you could win $1,000,000 by just playing that one tournament. Season-long players may cry 'no fair' due to their loyal following of the game throughout the season, but it's a smart move not only from the game play side of things (what's the incentive to continue play should you miss a tourney?) but also from a marketing standpoint (continued promotion of the game in Wal-Mart throughout the season, rather than just in the weeks leading up to it).
Oh, yeah, the driving force behind FLW, Irwin Jacobs, has created a mini-game to incentivize early sign-ups. If a player picks the top seven anglers in any of the seven tournaments, they can win some serious cash (as if $1M wasn't serious enough...), here's the break down:
From now until Dec. 28: win $5,000,000
Dec. 29 to Jan. 5: win $4,000,000
Jan. 6 to Jan. 14: win $3,000,000
After Jan. 15: win $2,000,000
In a quick test drive of the site, the game looks clean, simple to navigate and easy to play. Everything a website and fantasy game should be. The concept is much easier to grasp than other fantasy fishing scoring systems, which, along with big bucks on the line, should help pull all but the most ardent (or perhaps brain dead) supporters/players away, if only to play the game.
The game is free to play, which is a huge draw in itself, and everyone is eligible to win the $1M. However, there is one little kicker: premium content is available to "Player's Advantage" members only. It's $40 to become a "Player." That $40 includes access to all the tools, a membership to FLW, a $15 gift card to Wal-Mart and other things.
Game-play tools are DEEP and useful (as useful as predicting the finishing order of a fishing tournament can be) and include angler profiles, lake reports, live feeds from weigh-ins, a database that looks up an angler's success on any lake, pundit's picks, a trend indicator to see which anglers are being picked the most (great for strategy play if you're looking to make a big move), podcasts, quick picks (if you don't want to think about it), mobile alerts (on the last two days of the tourney an alert will be sent to your phone when an angler on your roster catches a fish), as well as the ability to form leagues (to play against friends and family) and a few other things.
It'll be interesting to watch and see how a prize purse and sponsorship package of this magnitude plays out. Additionally, it'll be interesting to watch the marketing push behind it. Irwin Jacobs said, "you'll have to hide to not know about this." Keep your eyes open for fantasy fishing promos in Wal-Mart stores across the country, on boxes of cereal, on candy bars and in other mainstream areas. The push for a mainstream, as well as international (the game will be marketed in 14 languages around the globe), audience is key to keeping sponsorship levels this high.
Without a doubt, however, this is the fantasy fishing game to play. It blows the BASS Fantasy Fishing game out of the water with it's depth, game play, ease of registration and prize package...along with perhaps taking what may turn out to be a huge step to winning the hearts, minds and imaginations of future bass anglers.