LOPEZ GIVES LOWDOWN ON HOUSTON CLASSIC
Last time we learned how Eric Lopez came to lead B.A.S.S. efforts at events, and now we’ll see what he’s working on for the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic.
B.A.S.S. has an enormous canvas in Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States. The venues are bigger and it’s smack dab in the heart of big bass country, as well as bass tournament country, so this Classic has the wherewithal to set attendance records.
Lopez, the director of event operations, said re-formatting the weigh-in shows from the usual arena to a 41,000-seat baseball stadium is the biggest challenge for B.A.S.S.
“Mike McKinnis (Bassmaster TV producer) and I work closely on making sure what happens at the weigh-in, which has typically been an arena, makes sense and works,” Lopez said. “In this instance, we’re reinventing the wheel. We’re not trying to fit what we’ve always done for the weigh-in into a baseball stadium. We’re reinventing the weigh-in. It’s going to have a new look and feel. That’s what’s going on right now.”
Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros since its completion in 2000, features a retractable roof and a bank of windows beyond the left field wall. B.A.S.S. won’t be able to rely on the spectacular light shows it has produced at Classics past.
“One of the things we’re doing is we’re playing to what baseball fans are used to seeing, what traditional sports fans see when they go to sporting events,” Lopez said. “They’re called stunts, or activations. Things you’d see at baseball stadiums are what our bass fans are going to see.”
Jumbotrons are a big part of baseball games, and Minute’s Maid’s Daktronics HD screen is the fourth largest in baseball. Called “El Grande” at 124 feet wide by 54 feet high, it’s located above the second deck in right field.
“A screen that large has never been used for fishing,” Lopez said. “It might not be that impressive to the average baseball fan because they’ve seen it, but our fans are going to go nuts.”