Outdoor Channel has hooked rights to Bassmasters fare.
Through a deal with BASS, the bass fishing organization with some 500,000 members, Outdoor Channel has pulled up 26 weeks of programming this year, including 2011 Bassmaster Classic and Bassmaster Elite Series, as well as several of the top episodes from 2010. Financial deal terms were not disclosed, but the network will gain access to the programming about a month after it premieres on ESPN2 and its affiliated networks.
The deal follows the channel's licensing of the rights to such other fishing shows as Buccaneers and Bones, The Madfin Shark Series, Spanish Fly, Zona's Awesome Fishing Show, The Fish Fishburne Show, The Salt Water Series and Fishing University. It also comes after ESPN's retreat from field/stream/outdoor category. Once a staple of its weekend morning schedule, the worldwide leader has opted to include more live soccer coverage and news/information fare, including the flagship SportsCenter and College GameDay, in the daypart. ESPN, which had purchased BASS LLC in 2001, sold the organization to a private investment group last November. ESPN2's airing of Bassmasters content currently represents the programmer's remaining line to the genre.
The series will appear on Outdoor Channel as part of its 2011 second-quarter and third-quarter programming lineup. The Bassmaster series will join the network's primetime programming schedule, as well as its "Yamaha Friday Night Fishing" block.
"We are excited to embark on this new partnership with B.A.S.S. as we continue to expand our fishing content with top-quality proven programming. These high-caliber Bassmaster TV series further strengthen and broaden Outdoor Channel's angling appeal, providing us with leading fishing programs that immediately resonate with our viewers," said Outdoor Channel president and CEO Roger Werner in a statement.. "This agreement with BASS reflects our ongoing commitment to providing our 35 million viewers with the best in outdoor programming."
"Our goal has always been to have Bassmaster TV programs distributed as widely as possible to allow anglers across the country access to our leading fishing series. Our new partnership with Outdoor Channel significantly increases our reach, and enables fishing fans to watch "The Bassmasters" during weekend prime time slots along with other popular fishing shows," noted Jerry McKinnis, a pioneer in outdoor television production and one of three new owners of BASS. "We're excited to join Outdoor Channel and be part of its roster that includes the industry's leading outdoor celebrities."