Fishing & Boating News

ESPN Brings Big-Time Excitement To Classic Coverage

Worldwide Leader in Sports Tackles BASS and the Big Easy

by: George McNeilly,,

(Jul. 02, 2003 - NEW ORLEANS, LA.) Having televised virtually every sport imaginable in nearly 24 years, ESPN will again bring its expertise to the unique challenges of covering the CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer. A one-hour same-day telecast will review each of the three days of competition, on ESPN2 Friday, Aug. 1 and on ESPN August 2 and 3.

"The Classic is the world's most-watched fishing tournament and we're looking forward to same-day telecasts from the New Orleans Arena this August," said Michael Rooney, Senior Vice President and General Manager, ESPN Outdoors. "We've created an entire week of special programming celebrating this storied event and the highly popular sport of bass fishing."

The coverage will follow the 61 Classic contenders as they spread out in all directions throughout the massive Louisiana Delta and conclude as they converge each day for the weigh-ins at the New Orleans Arena. The very nature of the event presents the ESPN production team with a variety of difficult challenges, according to coordinating producer Tina Thornton.

"One of the most difficult aspects about this event is that there are two venues, with one consisting of acres and acres of water," she said. "We will have 10 camera crews covering all the action on the water.

"The most difficult challenge is the size of the Delta itself. Last year in Birmingham, we were able to bring footage off the water in the helicopter that was covering the event. The Louisiana Delta is so immense that we will have two helicopters out there - one will be for shooting the competitors while the other will be utilized to simply transport tapes," said Thornton, a veteran sports producer who will be orchestrating her third Classic.

The time and effort required to get the tapes back to the production facility is magnified by the remarkably quick turnaround time involved in producing each day's hour-long show. Coverage will be aired Friday, Aug. 1, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2 before moving to ESPN on Saturday and Sunday when the programming will begin at 6 p.m. ET. With New Orleans located in the Central Time Zone, the daily Classic shows will air minutes after the conclusion of the live weigh-ins.

"It's not live, but it's such a short turnaround it's as close to live as you can get," said Thornton. "We will still be taping activity at the Arena after the show has begun."

In addition to the 10 on-the-water cameras, Thornton said that more than 100 personnel will be used to produce the Classic coverage.

"We're going to try to bring more of an entertainment value to our coverage because the event is truly entertaining," Thornton stated. "Our challenge is to bring more of what the fan at the arena experiences to our viewers."

BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning over 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.

Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Busch Beer, Chevrolet Trucks, Yamaha Outboards, Mercury Marine, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, Kumho Tires, Progressive Insurance, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Diamond Cut Jeans, MotorGuide Trolling Motors, Armstrong Industrial Hand Tools, and BankOne.

Associate Sponsors include Bryant Heating and Air Conditioning and G3 Boats.

Local sponsors include the State of Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, and Jefferson Parish.

BASS Week on ESPN All times Eastern <
Date Show Time Network
7/28 Bassmaster Classic Yearbook -1996 6 p.m. ESPN2
Bassmaster Classic Yearbook - 1989 6:30 p.m. ESPN2
7/29 Bassmaster Classic Yearbook - 1999 6 p.m. ESPN2
Bassmaster Classic Yearbook - 1988 6:30 p.m. ESPN2
7/30 Bassmaster Classic Yearbook -1995 6 p.m. ESPN2
Bassmaster Classic Yearbook - 1992 6:30 p.m. ESPN2
7/31 CITGO Classic Adventure - Lake El Salto 6 p.m. ESPN2
8/1 Bassmaster Classic Yearbook - 1996 11 a.m. ESPN2
Bassmaster Classic Yearbook - 1989 11:30 a.m. ESPN2
Jeff Burton CITGO Celebrity Challenge6 p.m. ESPN2
2003 CITGO Bassmaster Classic Weigh-in 7 p.m. ESPN2
8/2 Bassmaster Classic Yearbook - 2002 10:30 a.m. ESPN2
Bassmaster Classic Yearbook - 2001 11 a.m. ESPN2
2003 CITGO Bassmaster Classic Weigh-in 6 p.m. ESPN
8/3 2003 CITGO Bassmaster Classic Weigh-in 6 p.m. ESPN