Fishing Called An Untapped Resource For OC

OCEAN CITY – Members of the Ocean City Tourism Commission agreed last week that fishing has remained an untapped resource in Ocean City. In an effort to expand on fishing advertising, the commission is considering a proposal that would require $25,000 in exchange for national advertising.

At a Tourism Commission meeting last week, producers of the local fishing show Hooked on OC, which went national last year, presented the commission with a proposal, one that they claim will be beneficial for all parties involved. Producer Dave Messick and host Scott Lennox presented the commission with the proposal, which will involve national advertising for the town through their show.

Hooked on OC, a local fishing show dedicated to the regional fishing community, went national last year when it began airing on the Sportsman Network. Before going national, Messick and Lennox approached the commission in hopes that the town would come on board as the title sponsor for the show. The cost for title sponsorship was pitched for $100,000.

Although the town declined to partner with the show last year, it’s reconsidering the offer after a presentation from Lennox and Messick this week and a more favorable price tag of $25,000.

Since airing nationally last year, Hooked on OC has met success, gaining several sponsors, including Sunset Marina, Marlin Moon Grille, Miller Lite and more. The increase in advertisers allowed Messick and Lennox to drop the price tag for the town’s sponsorship. Hooked on OC was also nominated for four awards on the Sportsman Channel, including Best New Series.

In exchange for $25,000, the town will be gaining a year’s worth of advertising. The deal includes one 30-second commercial for the town during each episode, which airs four times a week. Lennox explained that the Friday night episode, which airs at 10 p.m., has proven to be a popular time slot. Extra commercials would also be included for special events in Ocean City. The opening and closing of each episode would expand to include coverage of different events and areas around Ocean City. A link to the town of Ocean City website would also be added to the Hooked on OC website as part of the deal.

Regardless of the town’s final decision on the proposal, the show will be maintaining its name, Lennox reported. Although several advertisers have made offers to change the name, Lennox and Messick have no intentions of making the change.

Lennox explained that their main reason for the proposal is to bring Ocean City fishing to the forefront of the industry and make Ocean City a top destination for fishing.

“There is no better place in the U.S. to fish in July, August and September than here,” said Marlin Club President Bill Regan, who joined Lennox and Messick for their presentation. “I don’t think people really understand, this is the best place to go fishing in those months, that’s why the White Marlin Open is here.”

Regan explained that, short of the White Marlin Open, the town does little to no advertising for the wide variety of fishing tournaments and fishing opportunities in Ocean City.

“The town hasn’t spent a lot of money supporting fishing,” he said.

Dr. Leonard Berger, chair of the Governor’s Economic Development Committee, said the fishing industry should be better promoted.

“We really have been missing the boat…it really is a very, very important activity in Ocean City,” said Berger. “When you look at the money spent on golf, we actually should be putting money into fishing.”

Although no decision was made on the advertising proposal, the tourism commission agreed to review the concept. It was also agreed that more advertising should be directed toward the fishing industry. Whether it will be through Hooked on OC remains to be determined.