ESPN Inc has cut ownership bait with BASS, LLC, finalizing the sale of the fishing organization to a group of investors led by Don Logan, Jerry McKinnis and Jim Copeland.
The parties had reached an agreement in principle in August, with the transaction officially completed on Nov. 1.
BASS, the largest membership organization of bass anglers in the U.S. with more than 500,000 members, was purchased by ESPN in 2001 and includes several media platforms, including three magazines and a Web site
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.
Come 2011, those shows will represent the only category fare remaining on the sports giant's air, as it is replacing its hunting/fishing weekend morning block with live news and event programming like SportsCenter, College GameDay and Barclay Premier League soccer.
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. 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.
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.
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, as they manage the multimedia operation
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