FLW, the world's largest tournament-fishing organization, announced an exclusive licensing agreement with Sunny Lake (Beijing) Sport Development, LLC, from China to begin sanctioning FLW bass-fishing tournaments in the Eastern-Asian nation at a contract signing on July 16 at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST). The agreement was signed by FLW President of Operations Kathy Fennel and Gang Li, Vice President of the Florida Culture Exchange Association (FCEA) representing Sunny Lake Sport Development.
"We are very excited to bring FLW tournaments to China," said Gang Li, Vice President of Florida Culture Exchange Association. "The agreement between FLW and the FCEA will be a fantastic partnership that will be a very effective combination of sports media and marketing platforms."
China will run a series of FLW tournaments that advance anglers, who are citizens of the host country, to a new international division at the Rayovac FLW Series Championship beginning in 2016. Two anglers will compete as pros with FLW providing Ranger boats and two will compete as co-anglers. The top pro award at the Rayovac FLW Series Championship is $95,000, including a Ranger Z518C if the pro is Ranger Cup qualified, and the top co-angler award is a Ranger Z117.
China is the third country to sign on for international sanctioning, joining Canada and South Korea as FLW partners under the new program. The highest finishing pro from the newly introduced International Division at the Rayovac FLW Series Championship will advance to the following year's Forrest Wood Cup for the chance to compete on the sport's biggest stage for $500,000 – the biggest payday in bass fishing. FLW will also provide a Ranger boat for use in the Forrest Wood Cup.
"We are thrilled that China has signed on as the third country to begin hosting FLW events," said Kathy Fennel, FLW President of Operations. "Competitive bass fishing is poised for explosive growth, and FLW is leading the way. We have long touted our anglers as the best in the world, and now with the integration of our new international division in the Rayovac FLW Series we will truly see global competition."