BIRMINGHAM, Ala.. — Fierce competition, the biggest stars of professional bass fishing and all the newest techniques and tackle are on tap in 2014 on ESPN2.
“We’ve got a lot of upgrades in our programming coming up,” said Mike McKinnis, executive producer of The Bassmasters. “New production technology and new competitions will add up to a great TV season.”
The Bassmasters TV season will kick off March 1 at 10 a.m. ET with the first hour of four original shows centered on the Feb. 21-23 Bassmaster Classic out of Birmingham, Ala., and Lake Guntersville. The Classic finale show will air in a prime-time slot on ESPN2: 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET, Sunday, March 2.
“We’ve always had five hours of programming for the Classic, but the big news is that ESPN is moving it to prime time on Sunday,” McKinnis said. “We couldn’t ask for a better time for the finale of the biggest moment in our sport.”
That finale will be followed March 15 by the “Winner’s Circle” episode, an in-depth, behind-the-scenes reveal of exactly how the 2014 Classic champion earned the prestigious, career-changing title.
And that will be just the beginning of the 2014 season’s 20 hours of new TV shows featuring Bassmaster pro competition, once again hosted by Mark Zona and Tommy Sanders.
After the Classic shows, fans can tune in Sunday mornings for wall-to-water coverage of the nine-event Bassmaster Elite Series that stretches from March to September. The first regular-season show of 2014 will air Sunday, March 30, at 8 a.m. ET, the time slot in which most of the 2014 episodes will air.
Elite Series fans will want to mark two special dates on their viewing calendar: June 29 at 8 a.m. ET and July 6 at 7 a.m. ET. These episodes of The Bassmasters will cover BASSFest, a new type of Elite competition with a purse of $1 million. One twist of this competition will be the chance for Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens anglers to compete in an Elite event. It all will happen at the Elite Series stop No. 6 in June at the Tennessee River/Lake Chickamauga out of Dayton, Tenn.
“There are going to be a lot of things connected to BASSFest,” said B.A.S.S. co-owner Jerry McKinnis. “Other than the Bassmaster Classic, this could possibly be the biggest B.A.S.S. event that ever has been.”
Another TV season highlight will be two shows on the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year competition on Sunday, Oct. 12, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET. The Angler of the Year title is ranked as one of the sport’s highest achievements.
Besides 2014 competition coverage, The Bassmasters will once again bring AutoZone “Winning Ways” shows to ESPN2. The three “Winning Ways” episodes scheduled for 2014 will highlight how top pros pick apart a fishery to find the winning patterns and why they select and rig the tackle that took them to victory.
Fans can look forward to 40 hours of The Bassmasters on ESPN2 in 2014. Check your local listings as dates and times are subject to change. For Classic TV times, visit Bassmaster.com’s TV listings.