ESPN Renews ‘The Bassmasters’ Under New Multi-Year Agreement
B.A.S.S. and ESPN have renewed and expanded their agreement to air Bassmaster tournaments on ESPN beginning with today’s Bassmaster Elite at Cherokee Lake on Bassmaster.com and WatchESPN. This multi-year agreement includes the innovative Bassmaster LIVE and Classic LIVE on-the-water video programs.
The agreement provides for 30 hours of programming from the Bassmaster Elite Series and the Geico Bassmaster Classic presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods to be aired on ESPN2. Show encores will air on ESPN Classic on select Sundays beginning July 9.
New in 2017, Bassmaster Live and Classic Live— B.A.S.S.’s cutting-edge live-stream coverage of fishing action from as many as eight high-definition cameras at each Elite event and the Classic — will be streamed live on WatchESPN and the ESPN app. Live programming, which has received accolades from fans since it was introduced at the Geico Bassmaster Classic at Greenville, S.C., in 2015, will continue to be streamed on Bassmaster.com, as well.
“There is no better place for B.A.S.S. to be than on the ESPN networks,” said Mike McKinnis, vice president of media content for JM Associates, which produces B.A.S.S. television and Internet content. “Securing another multi-year agreement with ESPN is great news for the sport and for the fans.”
Added Scott Guglielmino, ESPN senior vice president programming and Global X: “ESPN has had a longstanding history with B.A.S.S., and we’re pleased to continue that relationship with this multi-year agreement and the introduction of live streaming. Starting in 2017, fans will have the opportunity to watch the world’s greatest anglers compete live on WatchESPN.”
McKinnis is also enthusiastic about the scheduling of more than 220 hours of Bassmaster LIVE on Bassmaster.com, WatchESPN and the ESPN app.
“Technology is allowing us now to cover the sport in so many new ways, and taking Bassmaster Live to WatchESPN and the ESPN app is going to expose us to even more new fans. There is no better way for the mainstream fans to enjoy a sport than with live coverage.”
The multi-year agreement with ESPN provides for continued coverage of competition from the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series and the Costa Bassmaster High School tournaments presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods. Programs covering college and high school competition will air on ESPNU. Additionally, all Bassmaster Elite Series and Classic coverage will air on ESPN’s International networks and broadband players in the Caribbean and Oceania, reaching more than 40 countries outside the United States.
ESPN2 will televise the 2017 Geico Bassmaster Classic presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods, which is being held in Houston, Texas, on March 24-26. Fishing competition in the world championship, which will pay out more than $1 million to 52 of the best bass anglers in the world, will take place on Lake Conroe, revered for its giant largemouth bass.
Other highlights of the season include three how-to-oriented Winning Ways programs from the Classic and the Elite Series, and a special program on the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship, which will be held in September on Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota, renowned by the pros for its trophy smallmouth bass.
For the second year, B.A.S.S. will stream its ground-breaking Bassmaster Classic Bracket Tournament, a live-streamed event in which anglers’ catches are weighed and then released immediately, all before a live audience on Bassmaster.com, WatchESPN and the ESPN app. That four-day competition will be held on Pokegama Lake at Grand Rapids, Minn., shortly after the AOY Championship. It will offer the eight Elite anglers just outside the Classic cut a final chance to earn one berth in the 2018 Classic.
JM Associates has been providing content to ESPN networks for 37 years, and “The Bassmasters,” which is entering its 33rd season, is the world’s longest-running television show featuring professional bass fishing competition.
Following are dates and times of programs from B.A.S.S.’s 2017 schedule on ESPN. All times are Eastern and are subject to change. Check Bassmaster.com for up-to-date programming information.