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Case Study: How the Fly Fishing Film Tour Pivoted to a Wildly Successful Virtual Tour (while also driving retail business for its partners)!

May 6, 2021

F3T Customer Story

Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) is considered the largest fly-fishing film event of its kind. Since 2006, it has aimed to inspire, feed viewers’ fishing addictions, build awareness for conservation efforts around the world, and nurture a community of like-minded anglers.

Pre-pandemic, F3T toured the nation hosting in-person screenings of their annual film and partnering with local conservation nonprofits and fly shops to sell tickets. With the onset of COVID-19, in-person shows were no longer feasible. However, by partnering with Eventgroove, F3T was able to host a virtual premiere to viewers around the globe while still supporting local businesses and nonprofits.

Going Virtual

Through use of the Eventgroove platform, F3T hosted their 2021 virtual film premiere on a custom branded event site. F3T embedded their film onto a secure gated page to which only ticket buyers had access. Upon ticket purchase, viewers were issued a unique link via email that checked in attendees upon accessing the page and was automatically secured to their device and IP address. This prevented non-ticket buyers from accessing the screening with the same unique link. The premiere gave attendees virtual access to watch the film for three weeks, allowing viewers plenty of time to start, stop, and even rewatch based on their single, secure access code. 

In tandem with their virtual screening, F3T enabled a “waiting room” page for attendees who accessed the show early. There, F3T cross-promoted nonprofit partners, Active Pass Membership sales, and a behind-the-scenes video promoting the film itself. 

In total, F3T issued over 9,700 tickets for the premiere with viewers spanning the globe, including Denver, Colorado, Cape Town, South Africa, and London, England. By going virtual, F3T was able to cast a broader net and engage attendees in locations who previously were unable to join an in-person screening. 


“As the world sheltered in place during Covid times, it was clear that a major shift needed to happen for our tour and for our customers. Going virtual with our event kept our customers involved with our brand and actually helped a large portion of our audience become familiar with at-home, virtual screenings. In addition to returning to future, in-person events and utilizing Eventgroove’s event, ticketing, and printing facilities, I can say with 100% certainty that our partnership with Eventgroove has shown us that virtual events need to be a part of our evolving business model for the foreseeable future.”

John Shafer, Senior Manager of Operations and Distribution, Outside, Inc., Fly Fishing Film Tour

Driving Traffic to Local Fly Shops

When transitioning to a virtual event, one of F3T’s top priorities was to continue to support local fly shops. However, without in-person ticket sales, driving traffic to local fly shops remained a problem. To develop a solution that would boost local shop traffic and support nonprofits, F3T collaborated with Eventgroove’s Customer Success team. The resulting plan? The use of affiliate tracking and discounted tickets that could only be unlocked by scanning a flyer in store. 

Once a fly shop partnered with F3T, they received a shop package that included custom posters and counter cards printed by Eventgroove and branded to F3T that featured a trackable QR code. Upon scanning the code in store, anglers received access to a discounted shop ticket.

When a ticket was purchased through the QR code, the shop was credited for the sale.  In addition to a discounted ticket , attendees who scanned the code received free entry into a special sweepstakes only for those who supported local stores. The unique QR code that linked back to the affiliate was hidden, making it virtually inaccessible to individuals who did not scan it in the shop. 

As a result of this effort, thousands of ticket buyers visited F3T-partnered fly shops to support local business! Additionally, F3T was able to gather valuable data on their attendees during the ticket buying process, something that would have been unattainable with offline ticket sales. 


“In a normal year the tour is recognized as the kick off to the fishing season. An event to celebrate the beginning of a new year. When we decided to pivot to a virtual release due to safety concerns it posed many challenges. After dozens of meetings with Eventgroove and hundreds of phone calls with fly shops we were able to create a QR code system that incentivized thousands of Americans to support our virtual film tour event by going into their local fly shop. By the end of the initiative we distributed 2500 F3T hats, 3500 F3T neck tubes and helped generate business at over 100 local fly shops nation-wide. Through Eventgroove’s ingenuity we were able to track sales, organize a massive shop support raffle, and collaborate on a massive scale. Our combined effort led to one of the most unique grassroots digital activations the F3T has ever coordinated. We would be in a different position today without Eventgroove’s creativity, hard work and dedication,” 

Paul Nicoletti, F3T Manager, Outside, Inc., Fly Fishing Film Tour

Supporting Nonprofits

Conservation nonprofits also partnered with F3T as affiliates to track the number of tickets each club sold. This resulted in a revenue giveback and a great fundraiser for the nonprofits themselves. 

In addition to nonprofit partners selling almost 500 tickets to the show, F3T partnered with Trout Unlimited in a “Snag The Swag” sweepstakes supporting the Trout Unlimited Costa 5 Rivers program. The TU Costa 5 Rivers College Club program directly helps college students across the country by bringing great conservation projects to the rivers and streams near their campuses. Sweepstake prizes ranged from a drift boat rental and a Yeti Loadout Go Box to fly reels and sunglasses. This partnership with Trout Unlimited and F3T resulted in almost $20,000 raised. 

This fundraiser was embedded in the F3T ticketing page as well as their virtual event page so attendees could buy sweepstakes entries while enjoying the film. 


“The Eventgroove ticketing platform for the Fly Fishing Film tour integrated seamlessly with the online sweepstakes we developed to support our 5 Rivers college program,” said Jeff Yates, National Director of Volunteer Operations. “In just a simply copy/paste and click we were able to embed our fundraiser right on the event page, making sure every avid angler saw this great opportunity to support the next generation of conservationists!” 

Jeff Yates, Director of Volunteer Operations, Trout Unlimited


F3T and Trout Unlimited fully utilized Eventgroove Events, Fundraising and E-commerce to provide a groundbreaking solution to host virtual events, support local shops, and raise money for nonprofits. 


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