Rumor and speculation continue to swirl regarding what FLW Outdoors will offer next year in terms of tours, trails, payouts and team deals. Such talk isn't surprising, since Ranger is caught up in the Genmar bankruptcy, Chevy is part of the GM bankruptcy, Walmart is almost certainly scaling back its involvement on the tournament side, Land O' Lakes is said to be gone, and Pure Fishing (title-sponsor of the Stren Series) is rumored to perhaps be downgrading its involvement.
At the same time, participation in select FLW Series and Strens has been lagging. Last weekend's Eastern FLW Series was strong and drew 137 boats, but today's Delta Western Series will field just 85 boats. And while the Southeastern Strens began the year with a near-capacity 192 boats, by the third event at Wheeler in June, the field was down to 159 boats. Certainly understandable in difficult economic times.
The expectation was that FLW Outdoors would consolidate some of its trails to meet a perceived decline in demand, but chatter this week hints at the opposite. Instead, word is that FLW Outdoors will make an announcement about its plans for 2010 sometime in the next week, and the Tour, Series and Strens will move ahead, perhaps as is. Additionally, there's talk of some new and inventive measures to increase or guarantee participation.
More reporting as details emerge.