Record-breaking attendance at 2021 Bassmaster Classic

FORT WORTH, Texas — The 2021 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk marked just the third time the iconic event has been held in Texas, but the tournament has already claimed a spot in the record books. 

Fort Worth’s first Classic reeled in 147,197 fans across a variety of Classic Week activities and proved to be a true celebration of the sport, shattering previous records for the state and becoming the second-highest attended Classic in history just behind the 153,809 fans at the 2019 Classic in Knoxville, Tenn.

In 2017, the last time the Super Bowl of Bass Fishing was held in Texas, Houston and Lake Conroe drew 115,000 fans for Classic Week. 

The total Classic Week attendance was recorded at a variety of activities across the region, including the Classic Kickoff Party, weigh-ins and the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo in Fort Worth, daily takeoffs on Lake Ray Roberts in Pilot Point and the Bassmaster B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series National Championship powered by TourneyX on Possum Kingdom Lake near Mineral Wells.

“This incredible attendance would not have been possible without the loyalty of our incredible Bassmaster fans and the partnerships between B.A.S.S. and our sponsors, exhibitors, the media and our local hosts with the Fort Worth Sports Commission and Visit Fort Worth, who worked with us to shift the Classic from its original dates,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “The entire event is a celebration of sportfishing and the outdoors, and we’re thankful for everyone who gathered with us in Texas to celebrate fishing and make this Classic such a success.”
Classic Week officially kicked off Thursday night at Fort Worth’s historic Stockyards with the Bassmaster Classic Kickoff Party. Highlighting the party was a performance by 2021 ACM New Male Artist of the Year, Jimmie Allen. In addition to the daily weigh-ins at Dickies Arena and the hands-on Go Out{side} Experience and Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo held at Will Rogers Memorial Center, large crowds — including Sen. Ted Cruz — gathered lakeside each morning for takeoff at Lake Ray Roberts State Park – Isle du Bois Unit.

“It was our absolute honor and privilege to welcome nearly 150,000 visitors from around the country to Fort Worth, Texas for one of the most epic Bassmaster Classics ever,” said Jason Sands, Director of the Fort Worth Sports Commission

Enthusiastic sports fans not only showed up, they tuned in. FOX’s inaugural airing of the Bassmaster Classic on Saturday morning drew more than 1.6 million viewers and ranked as the most-watched Bassmaster telecast in over a decade. Fans also avidly followed the action on, viewing 18 million pages during Classic week and checking BassTrakk more than 2.4 million times for real-time updates. The website was visited more than 1.7 million times by fans from 170 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Finland, Italy, Japan, South Africa, Switzerland and Zimbabwe. 

Classic Week culminated Sunday with Hank Cherry of Lincolnton, N.C., lifting the coveted Classic trophy for the second consecutive time after winning the 2021 tournament with a three-day total of 50 pounds, 15 ounces. Cherry is only the fourth angler in the 51-year history of the Super Bowl of Professional Bass Fishing to win the event in back-to-back years.

Economic impact for the week is expected to top $25 million and will be announced once the calculations are completed by the local hosts.