BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Television’s biggest name in fishing is now entering its 20th season on ESPN. The 2019 season of the award-winning program The Bassmasters will see expanded airtime on ESPN networks as part of the sports giant’s increased coverage of B.A.S.S. fishing.
Beyond its 30 hours of coverage of Bassmaster Elite Series events and the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, ESPN has nearly doubled (54 hours) its shows on ESPN Classic for the 2019 season.
“For two decades, ESPN has had an incredibly strong relationship with B.A.S.S., giving millions of bass fishing fans innovative, quality coverage of professional bass fishing,” said Mike McKinnis, vice president of media content for JM Associates and producer of Bassmaster LIVE and The Bassmasters. “No matter the sport, ESPN has the best networks for coverage, and we’re excited that ESPN has committed fantastic coverage for our shows.” (View the schedule here, https://www.bassmaster.com/tv-schedule )
In addition to the television coverage, ESPN will now be streaming 24 hours of “Bassmaster LIVE” programming from each Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on both ESPN3 and the ESPN App – up from 18 hours per tournament in 2018. Counting nine regular-season Elite events, the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship and the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, B.A.S.S. will be live-streaming 252 hours of programming through ESPN and Bassmaster.com this year, an increase of 27 percent in streaming hours over last year.
Coverage of B.A.S.S. will also extend to ESPNU, with nine hours of programming from events in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops as well as the Mossy Oak Fishing High School Series.
The Bassmasters will begin airing on ESPN2 with back-to-back weekends from the biggest stage in tournament fishing, the Bassmaster Elite Series. March 9 will kick off with the inaugural event of the Elite season, the Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River, Fla., followed the next weekend, March 16, by the Bassmaster Elite at Lake Lanier, Ga.
The GEICO Bassmaster Classic will be covered in three episodes airing on Sunday mornings, March 31, April 7 and April 14.
McKinnis noted that the recently announced agreement with the Pursuit Channel to air The Bassmasters has been expanded to 130 hours for 2019, providing for a total of 223 hours of television time to complement the on-the-water streaming programming.
“Along with our industry-leading magazines, website and social media following, the increased programming hours on ESPN networks and the Pursuit Channel, more fans will now be able to enjoy their favorite sport wherever, whenever and however they want to follow it,” said Bruce Akin, B.A.S.S. CEO. “This means the biggest stage in bass fishing just got even bigger.”
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. With more than 510,000 members internationally, B.A.S.S. is not only home to the nation’s premier fishing tournament trails, but it also boasts the most expansive and comprehensive media network in the fishing industry. Its media include The Bassmasters on the ESPN networks, more than 130 hours of tournament programming on the Pursuit Channel, 250 hours of on-the-water streaming coverage on Bassmaster LIVE and 1 million monthly visitors to the flagship website on bass fishing – Bassmaster.com. B.A.S.S. also provides more than 4.4 million readers with the best in bass fishing coverage through Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times, and its radio and social media programs and events reach hundreds of thousands each month.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, culminating in the ultimate event on the biggest stage for competitive anglers, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. The trail also includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, BassPro.com Bassmaster Open Series, B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series, and the Bassmaster Team Championship.