Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Notebook

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Notebook

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Julavits, Times-Union outdoors editor

ESPN BUYS B.A.S.S.

In a move that could facilitate establishment of an outdoors television network, ESPN has purchased the business and assets of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, the world's largest fishing organization with over 600,000 members.

"This is without question the biggest day in the history of this sport," said George McNeilly of B.A.S.S. "It just shows how much the sport of bass fishing has grown to attract a company like ESPN."

Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

The announcement was made jointly by ESPN President George Bodenheimer and B.A.S.S. President and CEO Helen Sevier. Sevier said B.A.S.S. would become a division of ESPN, and she would remain as B.A.S.S. president.

"This acquisition, together with our expanding commitment to outdoor programming and the Great Outdoor Games, could serve as the foundation for the launch of a dedicated ESPN outdoors network," Bodenheimer said.

Among B.A.S.S.'s assets are BASSMASTER Magazine, the BASSMASTER tournament trail and the BassMasters Classic, the so-called Super Bowl of bass fishing. The tournament trail and the Classic are already televised on ESPN2.

FIRST SAILFISH WINS THE POT

There's a new wrinkle this year in the men's Sailfish Pot Party competition for the first sail of the season. Unlike previous years, the first sailfish of any size wins the pot.

The party itself -- April 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ramallah-American Club -- kicks off the competition, which is limited to registered anglers fishing within the parameters of the Jacksonville Offshore Sport Fishing Club's chart. Cost to attend the party and enter the contest is $25.

Capt. Roger Walker, who caught last year's winning fish Sept. 16, said at least 30 sails were caught before that date, but none met the minimum size limit.

"There aren't that many 7-footers up here," Walker said. "We're changing it this year to a release tournament for the first time. …

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