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  • Updated: 10/10/01

  • MINNEAPOLIS — PAX TV,   the family entertainment broadcast network, and Operation Bass Inc., the world's largest bass fishing   tournament organization, have announced a historic broadcasting partnership that will bring live coverage of a competitive bass fishing series to network  television for the first time.The announcement marks yet another milestone development for competitive bass fishing since the 1996 inception of the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the world's most lucrative fishing series.
    The landmark PAX TV/Wal-Mart FLW Tour broadcast agreement includes – for the first time in history –   live broadcasts of each Wal-Mart FLW Tour tournament and an additional 17 weeks of live  programming in a magazine-style format with   segments covering outdoor sporting news, guest appearances by fishing legends, angler profiles and  news from the fishing world. The series will include 27 hours of programming, 24 of which will be live. The program will continue to build on the unique weigh-in format pioneered by the tour and will feature a  consistent, guaranteed airing at 3 p.m. (EST) on
    Saturdays over the entire 27-week schedule.   In addition to a 30-percent increase in televised  hours and heavy promotional schedule throughout the   2002 season, the Wal-Mart FLW Tour program will  benefit from prominent display and promotion on the   PAX TV Web site. The PAX/Wal-Mart FLW Tour  television broadcast and partnership will also be  promoted throughout more than 2,600 Wal-Mart  stores nationwide.  Operation Bass introduced the first live network   broadcast of tournament bass fishing in 1999 with the production of the Ranger M1 Millennium event   from Cypress Gardens. The first-of-its-kind  tournament was the world's most lucrative, featuring a $3.6 million cash purse, with up to $1 million going to the winner.  “Since we began our historic partnership with  Wal-Mart, we have never stopped seeking new opportunities to bring professional fishing into as  many homes as possible through television,” said Operation Bass Chairman Irwin L. Jacobs. “From the beginning, our goal was to build a sport that  promotes an appreciation of the great outdoors and  exemplifies family togetherness and family values.  The PAX TV-Operation Bass marriage is perfect  because both companies are committed to supplying   high-quality, industry-leading products and services  in a family-friendly manner.” PAX TV is the nation's newest broadcast network   with a market penetration rate of 84 percent. PAX reaches over 84 million households, which exceeds  any other sports programming network. In the past
    year, PAX experienced 27 percent growth in the key    25-54 demographic category while other networks  experienced declines. “Operation Bass has been a leader in pioneering new  developments in competitive fishing – from record cash purses to live television coverage of events. We   look forward to helping Operation Bass continue to elevate the sport of competitive bass fishing and  expanding the popular Wal-Mart FLW Tour brand to  reach a larger national audience than ever before,”  said PAX TV President of Programming Bill Scott. “We are making a major commitment of network time and  effort to the launch of the 2002 Wal-Mart FLW Tour  season and to each broadcast. The entire PAX TV programming team is involved in this effort. Further,  for the first time in the sport's history, we will be broadcasting 24 hours of live coverage of Wal-Mart FLW Tour tournaments and fishing-related   programming throughout the season.” PAX TV has a history of successful broadcasts of both national and international sporting events. The   network currently shares the broadcasting rights of the Senior PGA Tour with CNBC. In 2000, PAX TV televised the Olympic Trials for numerous sports. This  year, the network expanded its sports coverage as  the sole broadcaster of the International Winter Special Olympics. The Wal-Mart FLW Tour is the flagship of Operation Bass tournament programs. Wal-Mart became title   sponsor of the tour in 1997. It was the retailer's first  national sponsorship. In 2002, Operation Bass will conduct 170 events nationwide and award anglers upto $21 million in cash and prizes. The 2002 Wal-MartFLW Tour continues as the most lucrative fishing series in the world, awarding anglers more than $5 million in seven events.  Paxson Communications Corporation owns and  operates the nation's largest broadcast television station group and PAX TV, the newest broadcast  television network. PAX reaches 84 percent of U.S  television households via nationwide broadcast  television, cable and satellite distribution systems.Through the company's strategic relationship with  NBC, the two networks have shared programming.The Wal-Mart FLW Tour has one of the strongest sponsorship teams in professional sports. Sponsors of the 2001 tour are ALPO Pet Foods, BFGoodrich Tires,  Black & Decker, Chevrolet, CITGO, Coleman, Conseco,  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. ACDelco spark plugs and oil filters, David sunflower seeds, ACT II, Excalibur, Strike King, Eagle Claw and Daiwa are associate sponsors of the 2001 tour.  For more information on PAX, visit PAX TV's website,  www.pax.tv.  Operation Bass is the world's largest bass fishing  tournament organization. It administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the world's richest bass tournament series; the EverStart Series, the pathway to the  Wal-Mart FLW Tour; and the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing  League, the weekend tournament series designed forworking anglers. Operation Bass also runs the Texas Tournament Trail, Ranger M1 Millennium Tournament and the RCL Walleye Championship.  For additional information about Operation Bass or  any of its tournament series, contact Brian G.  Sayner, vice president of communications, at (270)  362-5212 or Dave Washburn, communications  specialist, at (270) 362-5213. 

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