A first-time Classic destination, America's Bass Capital and the Big Easy will usher in the excitement of the Bassmaster Classic through the next three years.
In 2009, the 39th Bassmaster Classic will be held on the Red River out of Shreveport-Bossier City, La.; in 2010, Birmingham, Ala., welcomes back the Classic for the seventh time; and in 2011, the Classic marches back to New Orleans.
Launches for the three days of competition, Feb. 20-22, in 2009 will be from Red River South Marina in Bossier City, La.
"We're excited to welcome the Bassmaster Classic back to Louisiana, long known as the Sportsman's Paradise," Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu said. "We invite all the anglers, fans, and our BASS/ESPN family to enjoy Louisiana's natural beauty, its great fishing, and our unique cultural heritage."
The competition waters for Birmingham and New Orleans have yet to be determined but the Birmingham Classic is set for Feb. 19-21, and New Orleans will be held Feb. 18-20.
As always, BASS will showcase Classic content across several multimedia platforms throughout the event, and fans can follow the competition by tuning into ESPN2, attending the daily launches and weigh-ins or logging on to Bassmaster.com, which will provide extensive hourly coverage.
"BASS is thrilled to bring the Classic to three vibrant and diverse bass fishing destinations," said Tom Ricks, vice president and general manager, BASS. "This announcement highlights our commitment to our fans and to our sponsors. Much like the Super Bowl, fans now can make arrangements well in advance of attending future Classics — bass fishing's pinnacle event."
With its historic first Bassmaster Classic, Shreveport-Bossier City also earns the distinction of hosting the first Classic in which a Women's Bassmaster Tour angler will participate. The winner of the 2008 Toyota Women's Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year will automatically qualify for the 2009 Classic.
"The Bassmaster Classic is a dream event," said Mary Ann Tice, executive director of the Shreveport Regional Sports Authority. "Hosting the Bassmaster Classic will be a defining moment for Shreveport-Bossier City and Northwest Louisiana. We are completely delighted and proud to welcome the entire BASS family to our world."
The Shreveport Regional Sports Authority will roll out the red carpet for Classic weigh-ins at the CenturyTel Center in Bossier City. The 2009 Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo will be at the Shreveport Convention Center.
In 2010, the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau, hosting its 11th BASS event, will feature the weigh-ins and the Classic Outdoors Expo together downtown at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.
"We are very excited to be the host city for the 2010 Bassmaster Classic," said Mike Gunn, vice president, sales, for the Greater Birmingham CVB. "We feel that there is no other place that can offer the very best fishing in the country, the Southern hospitality, great accommodations and great food.
"And don't forget the 2007 Bassmaster Classic champion comes from Alabama. We look forward to another exciting event and will do our very best to make 2010 the best one ever."
The Classic will return to New Orleans for the fourth time. In 2011, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation will host daily weigh-ins at the New Orleans Arena, while the Classic Outdoors Expo will be held at the Louisiana Superdome.
"The City of New Orleans has a long-standing reputation as a favorite destination city for major sporting events, and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation has a history of hosting these world class events that include Super Bowls, Final Fours, and most recently, the NBA All Star Weekend," said Sam Joffray, vice president, communications, for the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation. "We are proud to include previous Bassmaster Classics in that list, and even more proud to announce BASS' return in 2011.
"Since Hurricane Katrina, our event partners have played a key role in spearheading the recovery effort of New Orleans. Make no mistake about it, Louisiana remains a Sportsman's Paradise."
Those interested in volunteering at the 2009 Bassmaster Classic in Shreveport-Bossier City should call BASS at 877-BASS-USA.
Bassmaster Classic Sponsors: Toyota Tundra, Advance Auto Parts, Berkley, Lowrance, Mercury, Purolator, Skeeter and Yamaha.