Four Tournament Directors Weigh in on Industry Happenings

From Mexico to Alabama, these tourney directors talk about attracting new participants.

How are you attracting new participants to your tournaments?
White Marlin Open Jim Motsko

Jim Motsko: White Marlin Open Ocean City, Maryland

We have always encouraged more participation by listening to our anglers (and any potential anglers). We have added optional jackpots to suit each type of skill level. For example, we have several tuna calcuttas for those who believe they are good at tuna fishing. We have $5,000 and $10,000 winner-take-all marlin jackpots for the ones who hope to win $1 million by catching the heaviest white marlin. There are daily and overall release jackpots. We combine these items with the extensive distribution of our promotional ­materials to marinas and tackle shops from New York to Key West to help add to our level of exposure.Hooked on OC
Bisbee’s Black and Blue

Wayne Bisbee: Bisbee’s Black and Blue Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

We’re thinking outside the traditional anglers and reaching a broader group of people in a couple of different ways. The first is the international audience. For the last four or five years, the international anglers have supported us well, so we’re looking to recruit teams by empowering those who already fish in our events to help us find a few more. Your current group of anglers is the best marketing resource you have as a tournament. We’re also reaching out to more general outdoor enthusiasts, people who enjoy the lifestyle and might like a chance to compete in a big-money tournament. Reaching new audiences is very important to our future growth.Wayne Bisbee
Blue Marlin Grand Championship Orange Beach, Alabama

Scott Burt: Blue Marlin Grand Championship Orange Beach, Alabama

We believe new ­participants and engaged spectators are the lifeblood we depend upon, and we aim to reinvent the tournament experience each year, starting with a post-event critique. We believe our event appeals to millennials and the younger demographics with fun, high-energy ­parties and our interactive social media opportunities. Then there’s our signature weigh-in ­experience that’s broadcast on live television. Nothing invigorates new participants like the opportunity to be in front of tens of thousands of cheering spectators while on television as part of what we call The Greatest Show in Sport Fishing.Mark Worden
Bluewater Movements Lighthouse Point, Florida

Jamie Bunn: Bluewater Movements Lighthouse Point, Florida

Our tournament philosophy has been: If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten. In over 20 years of running tournaments, status quo has never been a part of our vocabulary. Every year, we review each event and look at the areas where we can improve, for the benefit of our events and also for our sponsors, anglers and staff. We invest tremendous time and resources in the marketing of our tournaments across all platforms so that continued growth is possible. The bottom line is that success comes from hard work; you get out what you put in.Endless Imagery