Long considered the most important event in sportfishing, the Bassmaster Classic has established itself as a huge economic boon for host communities, far exceeding economic impacts from every host city for the first weekend of March Madness, according to reports.
With a record crowd of 153,809 spectators and tourists from across the U.S. and multiple countries, the 2019 Bassmaster Classic generated an economic impact of $32.2 million for Knoxville and east Tennessee, according to a report released by the Visit Knoxville Sports Commission.
"We are so proud to have the positive impact of the Bassmaster Classic and our partnership with Visit Knoxville Sports Commission recognized," said Bruce Akin, CEO of B.A.S.S. "It's our hope that through media coverage of our exciting tournaments and by attracting our signature large, enthusiastic crowds to a fishery, every B.A.S.S. tournament can be an economic win for our host cities."
According to the Visit Knoxville study, the Classic provided a direct economic impact of $17.7 million and an indirect boost in business sales of $14.5 million. The event is credited with generating $2.75 million in state and local tax revenue, including taxes on sales, restaurant purchases and lodging. Classic attendees, who traveled to Knoxville from almost every state and foreign countries as far away as Australia, Japan and Italy, paid for 29,232 room nights in local hotels. Sports Destination Management cited these factors as well as boat ramp improvements as reasons for adding the Bassmaster Classic to this year's list of honorees.
The 2020 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk and Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo will be held March 6-8 in Birmingham, Ala., and Lake Guntersville. Next year's Bassmaster Classic will mark the 50th edition of the Classic, which has become known as the Super Bowl of Bass Fishing.
B.A.S.S. was previously honored by the publication in 2018 as a Champion of Innovation in Sports Tourism for the Greenville, S.C. Bassmaster Classic.