Fishing & Boating News

Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors Signs Contract With American Forces Network

by: Bill Petrowiak, FLW Outdoors,

(Aug. 05, 2004 - MINNEAPOLIS, MN) Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors announced today that the American Forces Network (AFN) - the administrative department that provides stateside radio and TV programming to U.S. military personnel serving outside the continental United States - will have a live video feed from the Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship Presented by Castrol weigh-in Aug. 14. As part of the Department of Defense (DoD), AFN provides a "touch of home" to the approximately 800,000 U.S. service members, DoD civilian employees and their families stationed around the world in 177 countries and U.S. territories as well as those serving aboard U.S. Navy ships. AFN will air the final day's weigh-in live from the championship, which takes place Aug. 11-14 on Alabama's Logan Martin Lake. The weigh-in will air on the AFN Sports channel, which provides full-time sports television and sports-news service to military personnel. AFN also carries the 2004 Olympic Games, National Football League, Major League Baseball and NASCAR. AFN selects its programming based on the interests of its audience. "Wal-Mart associates and customers proudly support our men and women who are serving in our military and defending our freedom," said Tom Coughlin, Vice Chairman of the Board, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. "We're excited to work with the Department of Defense and the American Forces Network to share this live broadcast and reach out to our troops and remind them of how much they're appreciated." "So many of the troops in the U.S. military, who fearlessly protect America's freedom overseas, are bass-fishing enthusiasts who have put their passions on hold while they faithfully carry out their duties," said Irwin Jacobs, chairman of FLW Outdoors. "We are thrilled to work with the Department of Defense and the AFN in coordinating the live feed to bring the troops a touch of home while they are in the trenches defending our great nation. Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors is honored that AFN chose our championship weigh-in to be aired on its sports channel." Also appearing live on the broadcast will be Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats and namesake of Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors, who will send a special message to men and women serving America abroad. AFN will also air all 28 episodes of the 2004 season of "FLW Outdoors," a television program covering Wal-Mart FLW Tour events that originally aired on the Outdoor Life Network. "Our goal at AFN is to provide our service members some quality entertainment as they protect our country abroad," explained Tim Mattox, chief of AFN Sports Channel. "We do all we can to provide programming that satisfies the wants and needs of our audience. A large population of our audience is interested in bass fishing, and the Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship provides perfect programming to fulfill that need. We just want to thank Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors for allowing us to air the weigh-in, and we know the troops will love it." Troops may also stay in touch with the pulse of tournament fishing with FLW Live? - a new Web-based technology launched by Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors that delivers real-time updates from tournament weigh-ins. The technology, which also includes video, allows anyone with Internet access anywhere in the world, including the men and women serving America overseas, to view results from Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors tournaments the moment an angler weighs in fish. Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors is the world's leading marketer of competitive fishing. Wal-Mart and many of America's most respected companies support Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart has been the title sponsor of Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors since 1997. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAM'S CLUBS in the United States. Internationally, the company operates in Puerto Rico, Canada, China, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, United Kingdom, Argentina and South Korea. The company's securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMT. Last year, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. contributed more than $150 million to support communities and local nonprofit organizations. Customers and associates raised an additional $70 million at stores and clubs.