Itís looking more and more likely that the World Series of Bass (WSOBass) will not get off the ground this year.
While the tournamentís web site continues to say the dates and information about its 2013 schedule were to be released on Dec. 20, 2012, nothing new has come out recently about the event that was billed as a revolutionary tournament that would feature a potential $600,000 payout to the winner of its Main Event championship.
Tournament organizers have not responded to numerous emails from BassFan seeking an update and multiple sources with ties to the tournament have indicated that WSOBass founder Joe Habib hasnít returned their calls or emails since November. Inquiring fans have taken to the tournamentís Facebook page looking for answers as well. As recently as Jan. 17, in response to a readerís question about the status of the schedule, the pageís moderator indicated the information had not been passed along yet, but it would be posted as soon as it became available.
Initially, the schedule was due to be released last October, but organizers said overwhelming response from communities wishing to host a regional event prompted them to twice push back the release of the event lineup. Habib had previously said the three regional events would be held in the April-June timeframe with the Main Event planned for October. While itís still conceivable that a schedule could be released, the likelihood of filling three 100-boat fields is dwindling by the day.
This could be a troubling sign for a tournament organization that generated a considerable amount of buzz last summer with its bold $10,000 entry fee. The concept called for a $15,000 payout to the top 35 finishers in three separate regional tournaments. The top 35 from each regional would advance to the Main Event, where anglers would compete for a potential $3 million in prize money, assuming each regional had a full 100-boat field.
As a marketing tactic, a WSOBass television series was filmed last summer and broadcast on NBC Sports Network in the fall, but the final episode has yet to air. It was essentially a two-part series, with the first segment pitting Elite Series pros Brandon Card, Jared Lintner, Mike McClelland and James Niggemeyer against each other in a sequence of skills challenges and mini-tournaments. McClelland claimed victory and a paid entry fee into one of the regional qualifiers.
The other portion involved a group of amateur anglers who were selected to be on the show after submitting video applications. Again, the field was narrowed down through a series of on-the-water challenges and tournaments and James Biggs prevailed, also earning a paid entry into a regional qualifier. Biggs will be an FLW Tour rookie this season.