The First Fantasy Fishing Competition
In 2008, FLW established the first fishing game in the fantasy sports industry, FLW Fantasy Fishing.
Fans from over 123 countries joined FLW Fantasy Fishing in its first season.
• In 2008, over $2.3 million was awarded in cash and prizes.
Over 4,400 prizes were awarded during FLW Fantasy Fishing's first season, including seven $100,000 prizes for each tournament winner and $1 million to the overall tour winner.
• In 2009, FLW Fantasy Fishing awarded $10 million in cash and prizes.
The First Fantasy Sports Millionaire
FLW Fantasy Fishing is the first and only fantasy sport to pay out a $1 million grand prize.
• Michael Thompson became the first millionaire of fantasy sports after winning the 2008 FLW Fantasy Fishing grand prize.
The First Multimillion-Dollar Tour Purse
The 1997 FLW Tour season marked the largest ever multimillion-dollar tour purse: $3.1 million.
The First Live Network Television Broadcast
With over 2 million households tuning in, Fox broadcasted the Ranger M1 Millennium event on Nov. 7, 1999. This event marked the richest freshwater tournament prize in sport-fishing history, when Darrel Robertson of Jay, Okla., took home $600,000. To date, Robertson has won over $1.7 million in FLW events.
The First $250,000 First-Place Championship
Davy Hite was the first ever Forrest Wood Cup champion to win $250,000 in September 1998.
The First $500,000 Championship
David Dudley took home $500,000 after winning the 2003 Forrest Wood Cup.
The First Bass-Fishing Millionaire
The richest bass tournament in history gave away a record $1 million first-place prize to Folgers pro Scott Suggs of Bryant, Ark.
The First Youngest Bass-Fishing Millionaire
On Aug. 17, 2008, FLW made history yet again by crowning the youngest ever Forrest Wood Cup champion, Michael Bennett, the 24-year-old Duracell pro from Lincoln, Calif. Bennett became only the second million-dollar winner in the history of FLW and in the world of fishing.
The First College Fishing Tournament Trail with a National Championship
In 2009, FLW and partner the National Guard introduced the first college-fishing tournament trail to culminate in a national championship.
• Over 180 bass-fishing clubs at schools around the country participated.
• Over $1.1 million in cash and prizes were awarded to winning clubs and colleges throughout the season.
The First Competition Fishing Sponsor Wraps
FLW was the first property in the industry to integrate boat and truck wraps into the world of fishing.
The First to Integrate Sponsor Team Anglers
The FLW Tour introduces corporate-sponsored fishing teams and matching NASCAR-style Chevy trucks to complement sponsor-specific Ranger Comanche boats introduced in 1999.
The First Live Weigh-ins Online: FLW Live™
FLW Live™ provides real-time, worldwide webcasts of all FLW tournaments, including live video, audio and tournament results.
The First Walmart Partnership
FLW was the first ever national partnership entered into by Walmart, beginning in 1997. Its title sponsorship support included national in-store promotions, team anglers, events in its parking lots and more.
The First FLW Expo
FLW was the first tournament organization to bring the fishing tournament to the fans, creating the FLW Expo, which is free and open to the public. This event provides fans and families the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games and activities, giveaways provided by sponsors and learn more about the sport of fishing.
Due to the growth and scale of the event, the FLW Expo moved out of Walmart parking lots and is now held in convention centers around the country, where tens of thousands of families are able to create experiences and touch points around the sport of fishing at no cost.
The First In-Water Weigh-In Systems
FLW continues to lead the way in conservation by creating new and better ways to protect our resources including integrating in-water weigh-ins, which lessen stress on the fish and create stronger fisheries when they are returned to the water.
The First Conservation through Net Bags
In 2009, FLW introduced innovative new efforts to strengthen the resources that we so passionately support through a new Net Bag system that allows fish even more time in oxygenated water. These specially designed bags protect the fish and support them during the weigh-in process.