Fishing Show Seeks $100K Resort Sponsorship

OCEAN CITY – The producers of a popular local fishing
show, Hooked On OC, are looking to ramp up their viewership and promotion of
Ocean City as a destination spot for fishermen by taking the show to the
national level.

Producers Dave Messick and Scott Lennox presented their
plans to the Ocean City Tourism Commission last Thursday that not only
consisted of expanding the show’s reach to the national level, but to make the
town of Ocean City the title sponsor of the show, something the pair believed
would be a huge benefit for both parties.

“Dave and I realize and know, looking from the websites
and things, fishing is highly under-promoted in Ocean City and what we would
like to do is try and help change that,” Lennox said. “Being the host and
working at a tackle shop, I have people coming in all the time telling me how
much they watch the show.”

Going on its third season, Lennox said the show has been
in production for three years and has made over 35 episodes total. He also
mentions how it caters to men, women, kids and folks of all ages and covers
things such as offshore and inshore fishing as well as events as small as
tournaments for kids hosted by the Marlin Club to the world famous White Marlin

“Statistics show that fishing is America’s No. 1 outdoor
recreation and $44 billion is spent every year on fishing and fishing related
products and services,” Lennox said. “I don’t think we promote that well enough
in Ocean City and with the show we have an opportunity to change that.”

The network that recently approved Hooked On OC for
national airtime is known as the Sportsman Network, a network, who according to
Lennox, is all fishing, all hunting, all the time. Having been around for only
four years so far, Lennox said the network has grown into a premier one and is
shown in 48 states in 15 million households.

He went on to explain how the demographic is 99 percent
males, aged 25-54, a majority of which are married with children. These are the
type of people Lennox said he sees coming to the charter boats and tackle shops
of Ocean City.

According to Lennox, half of those viewers have $60,000 or
more annual incomes, so essentially, the town would be targeting the fishermen
who would bring their families in tow.

As of now, the show is ready for the Sportsman Network and
it has landed itself in a nice time slot, according to Lennox.

“When the show goes on the air, it’s going to air four
times every single week and our primetime slot is going to be Friday night at
10 p.m. on what they call their ‘Friday Night Fish Fry,’” he said. “That’s
really a premier spot and we feel fortunate we fell into that.”

Lennox and Messick, who both live and work locally, said
if the town decides to sponsor the show as the title sponsor, not only will
that include two, 30-second commercials for the town throughout the episode,
but the name of the show will remain the same since they feel it will benefit
them and the town the most.

Lennox and Messick went on to explain how each episode
will have a segment about different things going on in Ocean City, such as
Springfest and Bike Week, as a way to promote them as well as fishing. The
producers also plan to shoot their openings and closings at different locations
around town such as the Boardwalk or Sunset Park.

There are quite a few benefits that come with the
partnership if it were to happen, some would happen down the road, but others
would be immediate, according to Lennox.

“This one is the most important, bragging rights for
having a television show that’s on nationally,” Lennox said. “If we can go out
there and tell people fishing in Ocean City is so good we got a national
television show then that proves it.”

The producers said the town is their only choice for a title
sponsor, which would cost $100,000 a year. Other options include obtaining
other sponsors for commercial sponsorship at a rate of $15,000 for 26 weeks or
$25,000 for the entire year.

As fishing continues to grow in popularity, Lennox and
Messick also considered what the sport could do for the town in the future.
Eventually they said the would like to start a sister company that would put
together fishing packages, similar to the golf packages now, since some hotels
and charter boat companies have already shown interest.

“We’ve seen how the golf packaging has gone in Ocean City
from years back when there were only five or six golf courses in the area to
what it is today and we think we can get a little piece of that,” Lennox said.

If the fishing packages become a hit, the hope is that it
will become as popular as golf packages, drawing thousands to the resort area
as a destination place for fishing of all types.

“I don’t think there are many fly-in people that really
come to Ocean City to fish,” he explained. “When we go fishing, people fly in
from all over the place, from Montana and all, just to go fishing and I think
that can happen here.”

The Tourism Commission did not approve or deny the pair’s
request but members did say they liked the idea and would look at it further
and pass it on to the entire Mayor and City Council to look at.

Regardless, Lennox said the first show would air on the
Sportsman Network on July 1.