Classic to air on ESPN and ESPN2

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — This Thursday — Saturday, 52 of world's best anglers will compete on Lay Lake near Birmingham, Ala. in the 2002 CITGO BASSMASTERS Classic with the weigh-in on all three days on ESPN or ESPN2. Ron Franklin will host the telecasts with Jerry McKinnis and reporter Tommy Sanders. The winner of the 32nd annual tournament — the most important event in the sport, the championship event of the CITGO BASSMASTER Tournament Trail — will receive a prize package of $200,000.

ESPN2 will televise the weigh-in live from the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center on Thursday and Friday at 5 p.m. ET and the 2002 BASSMASTERS Classic champion will be crowned on ESPN Saturday at 7 p.m. (taped and aired on a same-day basis very shortly after the actual event). In addition, ESPN2 will provide live updates from the launch site with Sanders and reporter Kirsten Gum during the ESPN Outdoors programming Saturday from 7 — 10:30 a.m.

The coverage from Birmingham will culminate the first-ever "Bass Week" on ESPN and ESPN2, seven days of programming that also includes coverage of last week's Great Outdoor Games from Lake Placid, N.Y., as well as brand-new programs that celebrate bass fishing and outdoor sports. ESPN first gave the Classic such unprecedented coverage last year in New Orleans.

Anglers competing in the 2002 CITGO BASSMASTERS Classic represent 20 states and Japan. Texas leads the way with nine Classic qualifiers. The defending champion is Kevin VanDam, winner of this month's first-ever ESPY Award for Outdoor Sports competitors. VanDam is chasing a 25-year-old record: the chance to win back-to-back world titles. This has only been done once — by Rick Clunn in 1976 and 1977.

ESPN Outdoors

Since its inception in 2001, ESPN Outdoors — an ESPN initiative to coordinate company-wide, multi-media efforts — has strived to inform and entertain anglers, hunters, campers and people of all ages who enjoy the outdoors. ESPN Outdoors is committed to increasing awareness of outdoor activities, a direction best exemplified by daily television programming totaling more than 1,200 hours annually on ESPN and ESPN2. Each year, ESPN Outdoors stages more than 30 marquee events including the CITGO BASSMASTERS Classic and the Great Outdoor Games. ESPN Outdoors encompasses B.A.S.S., the world's largest fishing organization that sanctions more than 20,000 events through the B.A.S.S. Federation. ESPN Outdoors also features Bassmaster.com, ESPNOutdoors.com, a weekly fishing show on ESPN Radio as well as a growing array of promotions and activities that deliver a clear message of conservation and ethical sportsmanship.

Media Contact: ESPN Communications
George McNeilly or Dave Nagle in Birmingham (205) 458-8339

Bass Week programming schedule