LIVE gets livelier

023_bts_live.jpg

Chris Mitchell

If I didn’t work for B.A.S.S., I probably would have been fired last year. See, I have an addiction. During Elite Series events, I simply can’t turn off Bassmaster LIVE. As a matter of fact, I requested an extra monitor (please don’t show this column to our accountants) in order to improve my ability to “work” on multiple projects at the same time. Technically, I was above board with this request, sort of, because it is unbelievable how much I learn from watching the best in the biz fish at the highest level on some of the best fisheries on the planet. This year, I may need to seek professional help, because B.A.S.S. rolled out a whole new game plan for LIVE.

Before I mention the new stuff, allow me to offer a brief history lesson for those who may not be familiar with the LIVE show on Bassmaster.com. Back in 2015, the techno wizards at the Bassmaster TV studios decided that they wanted fans to watch, in real time, competition unfold. So, at the 2015 Classic, they added live-streaming cameras on boats of competitors. Public reaction forever changed the landscape of fandom for bass fishing. No longer did fans have to wait for the television show to air on ESPN2 to watch how their favorite angler finished. What’s more, we received first-hand how-to seminars while competitors were working to find the top of the leaderboard. To say the concept was a success would be a grave understatement. In 2018, fans watched a total of 65 million minutes of LIVE programming. If my calculator is correct, that equals almost 124 years’ worth of bass fishing consumption! It seems I wasn’t alone in my addiction.

For 2019, the digital gurus at Bassmaster who invented the concept of real-time internet video streams for bass fishing are ramping up the coverage. Historically, LIVE content was only available on the last three days of Elite Series events. Now, LIVE will kick off on the first day of competition. So, all four days of Elite derbies will be streamed for our piscatorial pleasure.

Fans also will see more pros on LIVE in 2019. In the past, 6 live-stream cameras were placed on boats. Now, there will be 20 live-stream cameras on the water covering Elite Series anglers (10 with dedicated cameramen, 10 Skype cameras operated by marshals). This will not only allow more of the pros to participate in the show, but also will highlight a more robust view of tactics and baits being used. Be still my beating heart.

And because the Bassmaster TV folks like to push the envelope, a new feature has been developed. For the first time in the history of bass fishing, a second “raw stream” will be available to watch more anglers. This one will not have commentary from our team of super hosts, just pure fishing. This new feature is a test to see if fans like the concept. If I were a betting man, I’d put my money on the raw feed being a crazy success.

As if this expansion of LIVE isn’t enough to get a person in trouble with his or her boss, Bassmaster is also doing Facebook Live events two times per day during Elites. And of course, BASSTrakk and the Live Blog are still incredibly popular aspects of the Elite event coverage. Oh, I shouldn’t forget to mention that the weigh-ins are ­livestreamed on Bassmaster.com, as well.

In looking at the whole picture, there is little doubt my work project list for 2019 is going to increase. So, I’d better put in a request for a third monitor before the next event kicks off.