Feb. 13, 2015
Bassmaster Classic Audience Expected To Grow In 2015 Through Innovative New Media
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro next week on Lake Hartwell, South Carolina, is expected to become the most widely watched and thoroughly covered fishing event in history, B.A.S.S. officials predict.
“It will certainly be covered in more different ways than previous Classics, which historically have reached more fishing fans than any other tournament,” said Jim Sexton, VP/Digital for B.A.S.S. “With new live coverage of fishing action on Bassmaster.com and advances in content for mobile devices, we’re hoping to surpass 1 million unique visitors on our website alone.”
The 2014 Classic on Lake Guntersville attracted 979,000 unique visitors to the site, and they generated a total of 33 million page views in February 2014, including 22 million during Classic Week.
In addition to web coverage, ESPN2 will air 12 hours of programming on the Classic, which is being held Feb. 20-22 on Lake Hartwell, with weigh-ins to be held in Greenville, S.C. The programs will be re-aired on ESPN2, ESPN Classic and on The Outdoor Channel. The 2014 Classic on Lake Guntersville attracted more than 1.3 million viewers, including approximately 880,000 on ESPN2 and 400,000 on The Outdoor Channel.
Bassmaster Magazine will cover the 45th Classic in its April issue, reaching 500,000 B.A.S.S. members and 3.7 million readers.
The “Super Bowl of Bass Fishing” also has attracted a record number of journalists representing independent media ranging from websites to magazines and newspapers to television networks. Approximately 275 media representatives have applied for credentials to cover the event.
Among the media contingent, a crew from The Weather Channel will be broadcasting live from the take-off site, Green Pond Landing in Anderson, S.C., Friday and Saturday mornings, Feb. 21-22.
Another form of live broadcast from the Classic will be “huge,” predicts Mike McKinnis, producer of the award-winning The Bassmasters TV show. Internet coverage of the Classic will feature live on-the-water video of anglers on Lake Hartwell.
Employing somewhat new technology built into the same cameras used for the television show, video is transmitted through cell service and streamed live on the website, McKinnis explained. “We do things that inspire us, and we know if we get excited, typically the fans can get excited about it,” he added. “I think the fans will be blown away.”
The video will be streamed in the “Bassmaster Classic Live presented by Lowrance” programs on Bassmaster.com each competition day, Feb. 20-22, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET.
Classic television coverage on ESPN2 will premiere Saturday, March 7, with a three-hour block covering Day 1 and Day 2 of the competition, and the final round will be covered in a two-hour show Sunday, March 8, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on ESPN2. (See Bassmaster.com for complete listings.) The programs are videoed, edited and produced by the same team that’s responsible for The Bassmasters show on ESPN2 and the Outdoor Channel. That show recently received the prestigious Golden Moose award for “Best Fishing Show” — the third such award in the past four years for the program.
In addition to “Bassmaster Classic Live,” the Bassmaster.com website offers several other ways to keep up with the fishing competition in real time. BASSTrakk uses cellphone technology to record the location of each angler on a GPS map. Marshals assigned as observers for each of the anglers operate the BASSTrakk devices and send in updates immediately after each fish is caught and kept or released. That information is displayed in the Real Time Leaderboard, an unofficial ranking of each of the competitors, and is sent automatically to followers of @BASSTrakk on Twitter.
Teams of writers and photographers prowl the lake, following the leaders and filing reports and photos in the “Live Blog” feature on the website, which also publishes photos taken by marshals of the angler’s biggest bass. “Near-live” video interviews will be posted online in the BASSCam section, and select video from GoPro cameras installed on all 56 contender boats will be posted daily on the website.
Fans will be able to contribute to the Classic coverage as well through Twitter and/or Instagram. By using the hashtag #BassmasterClassic, their Tweets and photos will appear on video screens in the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods, on the big screen during weigh-ins at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena and on Bassmaster.com.
Social media is expected to play a major role in telling the story of the event this year, according to Social Media Editor Tyler Wade. “More than 2,500 Instagram photos were posted with our hashtag during last year’s Classic, and we had barely established our Instagram presence then. With 25,000 fans on our Instagram account, @bass_nation, the number of posts will be much higher this year.”