ESPN Inc., announced Tuesday that it has finalized the sale of BASS, LLC to a group of investors including Don Logan, Jerry McKinnis and Jim Copeland. An agreement in principle was announced in August by ESPN and the transaction was completed Monday.
BASS is the largest membership organization of bass anglers in the U.S. with more than 500,000 members. It was purchased by ESPN in 2001 and includes several media platforms, including three magazines and a popular web site. The investor group is a powerful combination of business acumen and superior knowledge of the outdoors industry.
With the completion of the transaction, the purchasing party assumes ownership of BASS and will run the Celebration, Fla.,-based company. As part of the agreement, ESPN will continue to air BASS core television programming assets – the Bassmaster Elite Series and Bassmaster Classic – for multiple years.
“We are proud of our employees’ contribution to BASS this past decade and we are pleased to continue ESPN’s association going forward,” said George Bodenheimer, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president, ESPN. Inc. “Under the direction of Don Logan, Jerry McKinnis and Jim Copeland, BASS will be well positioned to serve angler’s interests for many years to come.”
Investor and outdoorsman McKinnis has a long and rich history with ESPN as the host of the network’s second longest-running show, The Fishin’ Hole, which aired from 1980 until 2007. McKinnis, who has been involved in outdoors television since hosting a fishing show for KATV in Little Rock, Ark., in 1964, has developed a special connection with outdoorsman and anglers with his innovative programming and accessibility.
“This is a dream come true,” said McKinnis. “I’m so excited to begin working with BASS’ passionate membership base on developing an even more powerful organization.”
Retired Time Inc., executive and avid angler Logan at one time oversaw Time Inc., America Online, Time Warner Cable and the Time Warner Book Group before his retirement from the media giant in 2005.
Logan’s varied experience in the media industry set up well for guiding a complex brand that boasts several multi media platforms.
“With a strong multimedia portfolio, BASS is well positioned to serve fans with innovative content,” said Logan. “We are focused on maintaining BASS’ leadership position in the industry.”
Georgia native Copeland retired as U.S. and Global CEO of international financial services firm Deloitte in 2003 and currently serves on the board of directors of three Fortune 500 companies.
The investor group has put a premium on focusing on issues that resonate at a grassroots level. BASS will continue to spearhead positive, progressive change on issues related to conservation and resource management.
BASS was founded in 1968 by Ray Scott.
For more than 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. The organization advances the sport through advocacy, outreach and its expansive tournament structure while connecting directly with the passionate community of bass anglers through its Bassmaster media vehicles.
The Bassmaster brand and its multimedia platforms are guided by a mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer; comprehensive Web properties in Bassmaster.com, BASSInsider.com and ESPN2 television programming, Bassmaster provides rich, leading-edge content true to the lifestyle.
BASS oversees the Bassmaster Tournament Trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, BASS Federation Nation and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic.
BASS offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members and remains focused on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.