OC Fishing Show, Marlin Open Get Resort Funding

OCEAN CITY – The tourism commission decided last week to invest in the fishing industry for this year, in hopes of piggybacking on the attention garnered by the sport to promote the resort.

The commission voted unanimously to grant $25,000 to the “Hooked on OC” program, which has national coverage with the Sportsman’s Network, and $5,000 to the White Marlin Open.

“Hooked on OC” creators Dave Messick and Scott Lennox came before the commission to ask for the town’s continued partnership, citing the loss of a few local sponsors and baited the commission with the national exposure from the popularity of their show.

In January of 2007, the town of Ocean City seemingly ignored a $100,000 request from Messick and Lennox to involve the town in the advertising spaces during their nationally covered fishing show, as Messick and Lennox heard nothing back from the town concerning their proposal as the deadline came and went. However, this year, the commission felt the $25,000 was money well spent.

“On July 1, the households that will be able to view our show, will rise to 18 million, and on Jan. 1, the number will rise to 22 million, which will give our show the ability to receive Nielsen’s ratings,” said Messick. “Your [More Fun Here] ad has been showing twice during our show.”

Although it was pointed out that the number of viewers of the show, which airs four times per week on the network, is substantially smaller than the millions of people that have access to the show, the commission thought that the investment in both the cable show and the popular annual White Marlin Open would behoove the town as far as positive exposure.

City Manager Dennis Dare told the commission that there was money allotted for such an expenditure in next year’s advertising budget, and despite the fact that the $30,000 will be subtracted from the town’s totals to advertise in other places, some thought that investing in fishing would be beneficial.

“Some studies show that more people are drawn to Ocean City for fishing than they are for golf,” said Princess Royale General Manager Jon Tremellen.

Still Messick and Lennox, emphasized their desire to continue to shoot the popular show locally and grow a partnership with the town.

“The $25,000 would continue us for the next six months and keep this show alive”, said Messick.  “It costs us that much to produce the show for half a year and we want to keep the show in Ocean City.”