Matchroom Sport and the Angling Trust have announced there will be a dramatic new look for the 2017 competition which will build on the changes made in 2016.
The 2017 event will see the removal of the Friday match that was introduced in 2016 and there will be an increase in the number of finalists from sixteen to twenty eight. Twenty four of these will come from the winners of the UK qualifying heats, with an additional four qualifiers from overseas.
Ben Thompson, Head of Competitions at The Angling Trust said “Fish ‘O’ Mania has always been a massive event and 2017 will see it get even bigger with a larger final and an international flavour. We’ve listened to the feedback from anglers over the last 6 months, and this change will see an additional eight anglers from England have the opportunity to win the title and the £50,000 winners cheque. The ladies and junior matches will also remain part of the event which will be held on Saturday 8th July 2017 at Cudmore Fishery.”
Negotiations between Matchroom Sport and federations from overseas are on-going and qualifiers held overseas will replicate those held in England. The winners of those qualifiers will be invited to join the main event in July 2017.
“Despite the reduction in the number of qualifiers, 3920 tickets will still be available for members of the Angling Trust. Feedback from anglers highlighted that some of the qualifiers were too heavily pegged so the Angling Trust has acted to address this issue and will reduce the size of certain qualifiers to provide better quality matches and improve the overall experience of the participants.” added Ben Thompson who has been discussing the changes format with a number of match experts.
A major driver behind the changes introduced in 2016 was to give more people access to tickets for Fish ‘O’ Mania. Demand is at an all time high and the number of ticket applications exceeds the number of tickets available. Despite increasing the number of tickets available in 2016, a significant number of anglers were unsuccessful in the ballot system meaning they were unable to take part in the competition.
The Angling Trust is currently developing a new entry system which will replace the ballot system and should ensure that every applicant will be guaranteed at least one ticket for a qualifier. It is hoped the new system will be ready for the launch of the 2017 competition and will make the entry process quicker and smoother for anglers to enter the competition.