"Pittsburgh will provide a vibrant urban backdrop when the world championship of bass fishing celebrates its 35th anniversary," said Dean Kessel, Vice President and General Manager, BASS. "Pennsylvania is one of the strongest states for BASS membership and we look forward to hosting a world-class tournament and week of activities for our members, anglers and fans of this great sport."
Pennsylvania ranks fifth in the country for BASS membership, with 22,688 members.
"The Greater Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors Bureau (GPCVB), together with the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and other partners are thrilled that Pittsburgh has been selected to host the CITGO Bassmaster Classic," says GPCVB President Joseph R. McGrath. "Securing this event is a testimony to the more than 60 years of efforts that have made Pittsburgh one of the cleanest and most beautiful cities in the country. Visitors and viewers will be swept away by our breathtaking skyline, and the trails and green spaces along our three rivers, each of which will contribute to making the 2005 tournament a challenging and exciting competition for the anglers and the fans."
McGrath added that the facilities along the waterfront in downtown Pittsburgh are within walking distance, including the new David L. Lawrence Convention Center, where the Classic ESPN Outdoors Expo (consumer show) will be held, and Mellon Arena, where fans can enjoy the free, daily weigh-in festivities.
In making the announcement, Kessel also cited regional support from ESPN affiliate Comcast and BASS sponsors including Triton Boats, Mercury Outboards and CITGO.
"Comcast local programming in Pittsburgh is excited to provide daily behind-the-scenes coverage of the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Classic," said Doug Sansom, senior vice president of Comcast's Western Atlantic Region. "We look forward to hosting with ESPN this great sporting event and are excited that Pittsburgh has been selected to host this very popular event."
Officials from CITGO, the title sponsor of both the Classic and the tournament trail through which anglers qualify for the world championship, were also pleased with Pittsburgh's selection, a move designed to help increase audience and nationwide awareness of the sport.
"CITGO and its system of over 13,000 branded marketers and retailers are proud to be title sponsor," said Don Rucks of CITGO Brand Development's Consumer Marketing and Special Events Group. "We will continue to assist in the development of this world-class sporting event and help BASS continue to grow it in both size and scope."
Anglers qualify for the Classic through several rigorous tournament series, including the CITGO Bassmaster Tour presented by Busch Beer, the Bassmaster Elite 50 series, the CITGO Bassmaster Open Series presented by Busch Beer, and the BASS Federation. For Federation anglers, whose route is widely considered the most demanding, it takes a minimum of two years of competition to qualify for the professional world championship.
BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer 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.
Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops, and BankOne.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit www.bassmaster.com.