Short Strikes No. 7

This week, Short Strikes checks in from the Bassmaster Classic—the Super Bo..er..”big game” of bass fishing. The Classic is celebrating its 48th anniversary this year, and for nearly five decades, it’s been the most prestigious freshwater fishing tournament on Earth. We join you from gusty Greenville, South Carolina, which most recently hosted the Classic in 2015.

Begin Again from the Beginning

Only two venues separate the Bon Secours Wellness Arena from the last Bassmaster Classic stage it hosted. After stops in Tulsa and Houston, Short Strikes is back in the bowels of the ineloquently-sponsored arena. (Home to the ECHL’s Greenville Swamp Rabbits!) I’ve yet to learn the local nickname for the arena. Most Lyft drivers seem to call 15,900-seat arena by its corporate moniker, but we will offer up some tips, ’cause corporate names are square:

  • The Big Bon
  • The Bon Bon
  • The Swamp Palace
  • The Big BS

The strike: B.A.S.S. drew some skepticism for revisiting the small city so quickly after its last visit. Though Lake Hartwell is by all accounts a top flight fishery, expo and weigh-in crowds could suffer from the abrupt repeat visit. My bet? Attendance will actually increase, thanks to 70-degree weather and a Day One weigh-in boost courtesy of a complimentary concert by country music superstar Jason Aldean.

Short Strikes would love to provide photos of this country music concert; but media has been disallowed from photographing the show. Instead, we’ll show you this country music photo of Johnny Cash.

$20 Million Tournament?

Sure, the winner of the 2018 Bassmaster Classic will take home $300,000, and a treasure trove of potential sponsorship dollars. But, B.A.S.S. says the host city will be the real winner, citing a $22-24 million economic impact. B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin told the Greenville News that Classic visitors spent $17 million in hotel rooms alone during the tournament’s last visit. 

The strike: Impact figures over $20 million have raised eyebrows among Classic attendees for years; and the very same economic impact figures ($22-24 million) were cited at last year’s event in Houston, while the 2016 event in Tulsa was estimated to hit $26 million in overall impact. And, B.A.S.S. has cited Classic economic impact over $20 million since at least 2009.

Actual post-event impact studies are scant; however, a 2005 article on Bassmaster.com cites a Charlotte impact study listing the actual economic impact figure at just over $12 million. Given 13 years of inflation (27-percent), the numbers from B.A.S.S. don’t seem too far fetched.

The Closer

We leave you with a snapshot from the Bassmaster Classic Expo, where an indisputable 250,000-square foot TD Convention Center is packed to the brim with new products from your favorite fishing brands. As of Friday, the festivities were just kicking off, but spectators already seem to be in the mood for the biggest tournament of them all.