The New York Times:

Leave it to bass fishermen to come up with the right bait for Internet users.

FLW Fantasy Fishing has gained a quick following in the cluttered world of online fantasy sports by offering $1 million to anyone who can put together the best team of professional anglers in coming months.

The prize is as eye-opening as the sponsors who help underwrite it – including Wal-Mart, BP and Chevrolet – showing that even niche online fantasy sports can attract major advertisers across a range of industries.

“More and more marketers are looking for ways not to just slap their logo on a sports site but to engage the consumer and be integrated into the content,” said Chris Russo, president of, an online marketing service that operates a network of roughly 110 fantasy sites. “And while this all started with football and baseball, it’s really now into a whole lot of other sports.”

But fishing?

Irwin L. Jacobs, chief executive of FLW Outdoors and FLW Fantasy Fishing in Benton, Ky., said the online initiative is essentially a marketing tool for his other business. “I have an ulterior motive,” he said. “I want to sell boats.”

According to the Fantasy Sports Association, a trade group based in Washington, a ruling last year by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has opened the door for more lucrative purses from fantasy sports Web sites, which generate at least $250 million in entry fees and subscription revenue and hundreds of millions more in advertising fees.

Photo by FLW Outdoors.