ESPN Inc., announced Tuesday that it has reached an agreement in principle to sell BASS, LLC to a group of investors led by Don Logan, Jerry McKinnis and Jim Copeland.
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 purchasing party will assume ownership of all BASS’ assets after the completion of the sale.
“The investor group, with its enthusiasm for the brand, will continue to serve BASS’ interests with anglers,” said Traug Keller, ESPN senior vice president, production, business divisions.
As part of the agreement in principle, BASS’ core television programming assets – the Bassmaster Elite Series and Bassmaster Classic – will remain on ESPN networks.
Investor and outdoorsman McKinnis has a long history with ESPN as the host of the network’s second longest-running show, The Fishin’ Hole, which aired from 1980 until 2007.
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 2002.
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.
“I am eager to begin working with the anglers, sponsors, and supporters to bring an even more exciting BASS business to its fan base,” said McKinnis.
“This group is looking forward to working with the fishing industry’s strongest brand and plans to make BASS even more relevant in the multimedia world,” said Logan.
Until a sales transaction is finalized, BASS will continue to operate under ESPN’s ownership.
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.