ESPN networks to telecast more than 250 hours of Bassmaster competition in 2018
Published By OutdoorsFIRST Media Published March 14, 2018
Bass fishing fans who want to see their heroes in action will have more than 250 hours of video to watch in the new season. The 2018 programming schedule for the Bassmaster Classic and Bassmaster Elite Series released by ESPN this week includes 30 hours of television and 222 hours of streamed content during tournament competition.
Television airing on ESPN2 begins at 7 a.m. ET March 31 with the first of 10 hours of coverage of the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods, which is being held March 16-18 on Lake Hartwell, South Carolina. The Classic championship episode begins at 10 a.m. ET April 1.
Classic LIVE, the innovative live-stream, on-the-water coverage pioneered by JM Associates at the Greenville Classic in 2015, kicks off at 8 a.m. ET March 16, just after the first-round takeoff of the Classic. LIVE will be streamed for six hours per competition day on ESPN3 and the ESPN App, as well as Bassmaster.com.
As many as five high-definition cameras - the same ones that record The Bassmasters TV show for ESPN2 - are able to stream fishing action real-time through cellphone transmissions.
Cell coverage will be even stronger on Lake Hartwell this year than during the two previous Classics in 2008 and 2015, thanks to a 110-foot live-stream tower erected last week at Green Pond Landing and Event Center in Anderson, S.C., site of the daily takeoffs for the Classic.
In addition to video from competitors' boats, LIVE will feature commentary from hosts Tommy Sanders, Mark Zona and Davy Hite, along with reports from Robbie Floyd and Dave Mercer, Classic and Elite Series emcee as well as veteran Elite anglers and guest anglers from the Classic Outdoors Expo presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods.
"It amazes even us how far LIVE has come in the few short years since we launched it in Greenville in 2015," said Mike McKinnis, vice president of media content of JM Associates and producer of Bassmaster LIVE andThe Bassmasters. "Viewership has grown dramatically every year since then. Including audience numbers from the ESPN App, LIVE programming from the 2017 Classic, the Elite Series and the Classic Bracket event had 2.9 million video views and generated 85 million minutes of viewing.
"LIVE is truly changing the way fishing fans follow the sport of professional bass fishing."
The Bassmasters first aired in 1985 and is the longest-running television programming covering professional bass fishing. It has been aired on ESPN2 since 2000.
In addition to shows built around the Elite and Classic competition, three how-to-oriented "Winning Ways" programs will be aired on ESPN2, as will a special program on the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship to be held Sept. 20-23 on Chatuge Lake, Georgia.
ESPN will continue to air coverage of competition from the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops and the Mossy Oak Fishing 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.
Shows will be re-aired beginning in July on the ESPN Classic channel. Following are dates and times of programs from B.A.S.S.'s 2018 schedule on ESPN. All times are Eastern and are subject to change. Check Bassmaster.com for up-to-date programming information.