BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Although most fishing fans know who won the 2013 world championship of bass fishing held on Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, not many fans were able to watch how Mississippi’s Cliff Pace pulled off the victory. More than 100,000 fans attended the Bassmaster Classic presented by Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa (Feb. 22-24), but the end result of the angler’s hard work was all they were able to witness. This all changes Saturday, March 2, at 9 a.m., when ESPN2 will begin televising the event.
Viewers will not only get a passenger-seat view of how Pace picked apart Grand Lake for the $500,000 first-place prize, but also will see firsthand the agony of defeat when Brandon Palaniuk’s last day rally came up just short; and the heartbreaking scene of Hank Cherry losing a fish boatside that might have earned him the Classic trophy.
ESPN 2 had no fewer than eight cameramen on the water every moment of the event, plus a helicopter-cam that offers fans a bird’s-eye view of not only the playing field, but where the competitors were in relation to one another.
Five hours of Classic coverage begins Saturday, March 2, at 9 a.m. with Day 1 and concludes with the crowning of Pace on Sunday, March 3, at 10 p.m. (Visit Bassmaster.com for complete listings.) Commentators Mark Zona and Tommy Sanders call the event. Special guest anglers Gerald Swindle, Byron Velvick and 2012 Bassmaster Classic champion Chris Lane also help out with the commentary.
The Bassmaster Classic, complete with fanfare and famous fishing athletes, kicks off the 2013 tournament season and leads into the Bassmaster Elite Series. The first of eight Elite Series events, the Sabine River Challenge presented by STARK Cultural Venues, begins March 14 in Orange, Texas. Airing on ESPN2, one-hour shows featuring the Elite Series begin Sunday, March 24, and conclude with the Bassmaster Elite Series All-Star event in mid-October.
ESPN has carried the Bassmaster Classic since 2000 and recently extended its agreement with B.A.S.S. through 2016. Beginning next year, ESPN’s distribution rights will extend beyond the United States to sub-Saharan Africa. ESPN will continue to televise 20 hours of original programming each year, including five hours of the Bassmaster Classic.
Air Times For Bassmaster Classic Coverage on ESPN2 (all times Eastern)
Saturday, March 2 9-10 a.m. Bassmaster Classic — Day 1
Sunday, March 3 6-7 a.m. Bassmaster Classic — Day 1 (encore)
Sunday, March 3 7-9 a.m. Bassmaster Classic — Day 2
Sunday, March 3 10 p.m.-12 a.m. Bassmaster Classic — Championship
Sunday, March 10 5-7 a.m. Bassmaster Classic — Day 2 (encore)
Sunday, March 10 7-9 a.m. Bassmaster Classic — Championship (encore)