Now almost into its incredible third decade, Fish’O’Mania has developed into a genuine English sporting institution. Broadcast for five hours live in the UK each summer and known as the ‘FA Cup of Fishing’, Fish ‘O’ Mania is a superb example of how Matchroom Sport can turn a traditionally non-television sport into an established TV spectacular.
With upwards of 2,000 anglers applying for coveted tickets to participate in Fish’O’Mania qualifiers, the event starts out in April with the first of 16 qualifying events. The winner of each competition goes through to the grand final and with it a shot at the £30,000 top prize.
The event gains much of its excitement by abandoning the traditional weigh-in at the conclusion of the match, and instead features weigh-ins every 30 minutes which gives the event a changing leader board that makes the action easy to follow.
In addition to the main match there are ladies and juniors matches to make it Britain’s most popular angling festival.
Following 16 years of the event, Matchroom Sport staged a one-off Fish’O’Mania Champion of Champions competition to run on the same lake, the day after the main event. This involved all all 16 previous winners of Fish’O’Mania and was won by Nathan Watson.
Since then an international team event has taken place on the second day; initially featuring England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, it soon included teams from continental Europe.
In a sport where 500 is a massive crowd, well over 10,000 fishing fans regularly attend Fish O’ Mania to create a unique sporting atmosphere.
In 2006, Matchroom Sport became exclusive international distributor for FLW Outdoors Bass Fishing, the multi-million dollar American fishing tour that has evolved into a major TV attraction since its inception in the mid-90s.That relationship continues to flourish.
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