For so long, tournament pros have relied on the bass boat/motor industry to carry their careers, until the largest organizations were able to tap the non-endemics to get involved in the game. And certainly no one would argue that even if there has been uneven rewards from a revenue standpoint, there most certainly has been a certain amount of prestige associated with a pro’s wrapped boat.
Unfortunately, everyone can now see that the same money people use to buy boats and motors is the same money they use to buy big screens and toy haulers. And when that discretionary cash is gone, what’s left goes to milk and peanut butter.
We’re hearing of some movement in the boating industry and in fact the trade is suggesting some indicators are on the rise (click here). And this is a good thing.
But looking at the chart, it’s clear the August upswing in sales may or may not be a signal of an overall, continued gain. The winter months ahead, in fact, are rarely as good as the summer for boat sales.
Yet I don’t think it’s quite a bleak as Rick Clunn suggested while competing in the U.S. Open last month. Of the cadre of national touring pros, he said, “We’ve all lost a lot (in the way of sponsorship dollars).” And when referring to the core boat and motor sponsor support, he said, “I don’t know if it’s ever coming back.”
But the country and the nation’s outdoor enthusiasts have been very resilient over the years, (even if they had to eat the old world record bass during the Great Depression) and hopefully we’ll see opportunities increase over the next several years.