The three-day Classic, in Pittsburgh, received unprecedented tournament coverage on ESPN and ESPN2 with a total of 12 hours of programming devoted to the Super Bowl of bass fishing.
The weigh-in on Day 1 was seen in an average of 396,000 homes; more than double last year’s 185,000 homes and by far the biggest Day 1 audience in ESPN's five years televising the event.
Average viewership for the final weigh-in on Day 3, in which Michigan angler Kevin VanDam was named champion, increased 9 percent from 2004 (481,000 vs. 526,000).
In addition, the host city of Pittsburgh proved to be a City of Champions, as a total of 29,295 spectators attended three days of weigh-ins. It was the best attended Classic weigh-in since ESPN acquired BASS in 2001. Combined with the Bassmaster Family Fest and ESPN Outdoors Expo presented by Under Amour, an impressive 76,872 total spectators participated in Bassmaster Classic activities.
“From the tremendous weekend viewership to the record-breaking attendance at Mellon Arena, the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Classic was a great success,” said Christine Godleski, vice president and general manager of ESPN Outdoors. “The city of Pittsburgh was a fantastic host for all of our Classic activities and we are thrilled with the results we received.”
The 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Classic will be held on Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee, Fla., Feb. 24-26. The winner will take home $500,000, or about half of the more than $1 million in prize money to be awarded.
BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968. Coming in 2006 are an expanded Tour schedule to 11 events, three Majors tournaments and the Women’s Bassmaster Tour.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit www.bassmaster.com.