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Central Bassman

FLW sues Evinrude

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I can't believe this...

FLW Outdoors issued a press release today to announce it has filed suit in a Minnesota state court against Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), parent company of Evinrude outboards.

According to the release, FLW Outdoors alleges that Evinrude failed "to pay its agreed upon sponsorship fees for the entire 2009 FLW Outdoors tournament season," and FLW Outdoors has paid nearly $100,000 of Evinrude contingency bonuses to competitors without recompense. The release also noted: "In nearly 15 years of business and tournament operations, FLW Outdoors has never had to sue a single sponsor for failure to pay their sponsorship fees."

FLW Outdoors chairman Irwin Jacobs stated in the release: "FLW Outdoors has had a long-term sponsorship and working relationship with Evinrude as a premier sponsor of FLW Outdoors and its tournaments. In 2009, FLW Outdoors received confirmation from Evinrude officials both in writing and verbally that Evinrude had agreed to the continuance of their sponsorship with FLW Outdoors at about the same level of sponsorship fees for 2009 as they had in 2008.

"FLW Outdoors has fully supported Evinrude's sponsorship throughout the 2009 FLW Outdoors tournament season," Jacobs added. "Evinrude has enjoyed all of the same contractual marketing commitments that FLW Outdoors supported Evinrude with in 2008, including, but not limited to, substantial onsite space for displaying and marketing their products at all tournament locations; Evinrude engines installed on half of all FLW Outdoors/Ranger stage and tournament boats throughout all tournaments; signage throughout all FLW Outdoors tournament locations; television commercials on all FLW Outdoors television programming worldwide; magazine advertising; Internet marketing and advertising; and heavily-promoted Evinrude on all marketing materials and advertising as part of FLW Fantasy Fishing, an international game worth $10 million in cash and prizes. Yet Evinrude has refused to pay FLW Outdoors any of the amounts it promised as consideration for those benefits."

About the payment of contingency bonuses, Jacobs stated: "Not only are we terribly disappointed in the fact that Evinrude hasn't paid any of their agreed-upon sponsorship fees for 2009, but they also haven't paid any of the committed contingency dollars on behalf of their Evinrude pro staff anglers through the 2009 FLW Outdoors tournament season. FLW Outdoors has advanced on Evinrude's behalf almost $100,000 to those Evinrude Pro Staff anglers who had cash commitments from Evinrude based upon their performance this season. To date, Evinrude hasn't reimbursed FLW Outdoors a single dollar for the money that FLW Outdoors advanced on its behalf to the Evinrude Pro Staff anglers."

Although the release referenced the $100,000 total figure for contingency prizes, no money totals were given for the sponsorship package.

The news shocked a fishing industry that's struggling to survive the turbulent economic climate. The boat and motor market has been particularly hard hit and Jacobs, in June of this year, elected to take his boat-manufacturing company, Genmar Holdings Inc., into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Although FLW Outdoors and Genmar are by law separate companies, Jacobs serves as head of both, and BRP/Evinrude is listed as a creditor in the Genmar bankruptcy owed an outstanding $470,637. It's not known whether that bankruptcy filing might be related to Evinrude's alleged failure to pay FLW Outdoors. However, FLW Outdoors alleges that Evinrude failed to pay for the current tournament season, which began in January of this year, whereas the bankruptcy filing did not occur until 2 months ago.

BRP/Evinrude media relations official Julie Johnson told BassFan the company cannot offer comment at this time due to the pending legal matter.

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So I own a Evinrude, and let me get it out of the way that I'm not pro rude, or anti. It's a motor, I own it, and who knows if I'll own another. Depends on the next deal. So I'm not biased here. I've owned all of the big 3 and a motor is a motor to me.

We don't know the other side of the story... yet. But would you assume that Genmar owes BRP/Evinrude some $? Lots of blue hanging off some of them boats. Now it was stated from the get go that FLW Productions was not part of the Genmar bankruptcy filings, but they are basically the same group right? So put yourself in BRP/Evinrude's shoes. I owe you $x, and you owe me $x(maybe $x+) and you're going through bankruptcy and may not have to pay me. Kinda hard to write that check isn't it?

Not making excuses for BRP/Evinrude, or saying they are in the right for not paying up.... just putting myself in their shoes.

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I see your point Fluker. However, I don't think the courts will agree. As separate corporations, the financial status of Gemnar is not related to that of FLW. People incorporate their businesses all the time to provide protection for their personal property if the business should fail. Irwin is no different here.

I think the nonpayment by BRP/Evinrude to FLW is most likely due to the failing outboard motor industry. If BRP/Evinrude is losing money like most marine companies, they simply don't have funding available to share with pro staffers and the FLW sponsorship. I think this recession will change professional fishing for years to come. Companies will not be giving the handouts like they have in the past.

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I agree with everything you said above, just was adding another possible view point. No quams here.

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