ESPN Inc. announced Tuesday that it has finalized the sale of BASS, LLC to a group of investors including Don Logan, Jerry McKinnis and Jim Copeland. An agreement in principle was announced in August by ESPN and the transaction was completed Monday. BASS is the largest membership organization of B.A.S.S. anglers in the U.S. with more than 500,000 members.
It was purchased by ESPN in 2001 and includes several media platforms, including three magazines and a popular website. The investor group is a powerful combination of business acumen and superior knowledge of the outdoors industry. With the completion of the transaction, the purchasing party assumes ownership of B.A.S.S. and will run the Celebration, Fla.-based company. As part of the agreement, ESPN will continue to air B.A.S.S. core television programming assets — the Bassmaster Elite Series and Bassmaster Classic — for multiple years.
"We are proud of our employees' contribution to B.A.S.S. this past decade and we are pleased to continue ESPN's association going forward," said George Bodenheimer, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president, ESPN. Inc. "Under the direction of Don Logan, Jerry McKinnis and Jim Copeland, B.A.S.S. will be well positioned to serve anglers' interests for many years to come."
Investor and outdoorsman McKinnis has a long and rich history with ESPN as the host of the network's second longest-running show, The Fishin' Hole, which aired from 1980 until 2007. McKinnis, who has been involved in outdoors television since hosting a fishing show for KATV in Little Rock, Ark., in 1964, has developed a special connection with outdoorsmen and anglers with his innovative programming and accessibility. "This is a dream come true," said McKinnis. "I'm so excited to begin working with B.A.S.S.' passionate membership base on developing an even more powerful organization."
Retired Time Inc. executive and avid angler Logan at one time oversaw Time Inc., America Online, Time Warner Cable and the Time Warner Book Group before his retirement from the media giant in 2005. Logan's varied experience in the media industry set up well for guiding a complex brand that boasts several multimedia platforms. "With a strong multimedia portfolio, B.A.S.S. is well positioned to serve fans with innovative content," said Logan. "We are focused on maintaining B.A.S.S.' leadership position in the industry." Georgia native Copeland retired as U.S. and Global CEO of international financial services firm Deloitte in 2003 and currently serves on the board of directors of three Fortune 500 companies.
The investor group has put a premium on focusing on issues that resonate at a grassroots level. B.A.S.S. will continue to spearhead positive, progressive change on issues related to conservation and resource management. B.A.S.S. was founded in 1968 by Ray Scott.