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by Gary Mortenson
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Operation Bass announced Tuesday that the Stanley Works is the latest powerhouse sponsor to join its world class team that is making waves in the sports marketing industry through a broad lineup of Wal-Mart fishing tournaments.
Since the introduction of the high-stakes Wal-Mart FLW Tour in 1996, fishing has become a big business for businesses looking to cash in on an estimated audience of 55 million anglers nationwide. In fact, 37 industry-leading sponsors have signed on for Wal-Mart's 2002 fishing circuits despite an environment where sponsorship dollars are hard to find in more traditional sporting arenas. With backing like that, nearly $22 million will be up for grabs in 2002 when thousands of competitive anglers ranging from weekend warriors to fulltime pros return to the water. And thanks to Wal-Mart and heavyweight sponsors like Stanley flooding into the sport, anglers will have plenty of tournament options to choose from, too.
Wal-Mart backed tournament circuits run by Operation Bass comprise the $6.4 million, 139-event Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League for weekend anglers; $2.8 million, 13-event EverStart Series for up-and-coming professionals; $5.1 million, seven-event Wal-Mart FLW Tour for the nation's top pro anglers; $1 million, five-event Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail for anglers in the Long Horn State; and the $2.9 million, five-event Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit for the nation's top pro walleye anglers. Operation Bass and Wal-Mart have also teamed up for the Ranger M1 bass tournament in 2002. With a $3.6 million purse and up to $1 million going to the winner, the M1 is the most lucrative fishing tournament in history.
In keeping with its ubiquitous brand mantra, Stanley will put its name behind the full spectrum of Wal-Mart tournament circuits to capitalize on what vice president of marketing Ken Lewis describes as “a unique opportunity to build brand loyalty within a vast, untapped customer base.”
“Ultimately our goal is to create an unbreakable bond with the customer,” Lewis says. “This kind of attachment can only be achieved by connecting with our consumers where they work and where they play. Fishing is one of those places our customers love to play.”
Stanley will put a five-person fishing team on the water in specially designed Ranger boats. Additionally, the company will be featured on the Wal-Mart FLW Tour television series on PAX TV. The series features 25 weeks of live broadcasts to more than 84 million households—a first for the sport. The series also features a guaranteed airtime of 3 p.m. (EST) on Saturdays starting Jan. 19.
The Stanley Works sponsorship also includes a distinctive Chevy Silverado tow vehicle and specially designed Ranger boat with Stanley logos for use in Wal-Mart FLW Tour events, signage at tournaments, creation of a Stanley angler awards program, advertisements in Bass Fishing magazine, inclusion in Operation Bass promotional and public relations materials, and prominence on all tour Web sites.
Stanley will also showcase its products in the Family Fun Zone set up at each Wal-Mart FLW Tour event. Each Fun Zone features interactive games and product displays that help sponsors build brand awareness and loyalty with Wal-Mart customers.
“Stanley is the premier player in the hand tools category with a truly remarkable brand name,” said Irwin L. Jacobs, chairman of Operation Bass. “We are thrilled to have them as a part of our team. Their involvement in every aspect of the sport elevates it to unprecedented heights. ”
Founded in 1843, Stanley is one of the world's most recognized and trusted brand names. The company offers a full array of products, which can be found on every continent. Additional brands in The Stanley Works family are FatMax, Bostitch, Goldblatt, Jensen, LaBounty, Mac Tools, Proto, Vidmar and Zag.
Sponsors of the six Operation Bass tournament programs in 2002 are Wal-Mart, ALPO Pet Foods, BC Powder, BFGoodrich Tires, Castrol, Chevy Trucks, Coleman, Conseco, Eagle Electronics, Energizer, EverStart Batteries, Evinrude, Faded Glory, Frito-Lay, Fujifilm, Garmin, Kellogg's, Land O'Lakes, Minn Kota, Pepsi, Poulan, Ranger Boats, Shop-Vac, Snickers, Stanley Works, Stren, US Bank, Weed Eater and Yamaha Outboards. Associate sponsors are Abu Garcia, Act II, Berkley, David Sunflower Seeds, Eagle Claw, Laker, Plano and Solar Bat.
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