Bassmaster Classic Breaks Records

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From massive fan attendance and viewership to the first Canadian champion, the 53rd edition of the Super Bowl of Bass Fishing has etched its name in the sportfishing record books.

The 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Toyota reached 4.5 million viewers across the two days of FOX and FS1 coverage. The final hours of Championship Sunday’s Bassmaster LIVE coverage on FOX featured high drama as tournament leader Jeff Gustafson struggled with just two fish and scores of fans tuned in to see if the field could catch “Gussy,” leading to the most-watched Bassmaster telecast on any network since 2009 according to Nielsen numbers provided by FOX.

When the confetti cleared on Championship Sunday, Gustafson of Kenora, Ontario, was crowned the first Canadian Classic champion and just the second international champion — Japan’s Takahiro Omori took home the coveted title in 2004.

“I was totally wowed by the crowd inside Thompson-Boling Arena, all of the lights, the music … the whole spectacle. It was the highlight of my fishing career and really my life,” said Gustafson. “We have a lot of people in Canada who love bass fishing and a lot of good anglers who aren’t going to have the same chance that I did.”

Those who missed the live final weigh-in, which streamed on, could tune-in just hours later for the first-ever Super Six highlight show on FS1.

Host city Knoxville, Tenn., welcomed a staggering crowd of 163,914 fans to Classic Week activities, including Thursday’s Visit Knoxville Kickoff Party presented by TNT Fireworks, daily takeoffs, exciting weigh-in festivities and the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by the U.S. Army, which featured the first carbon-neutral venues in Classic history thanks to a partnership with the TVA.

“Hosting the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Toyota was a huge honor for our destination,” said Chad Culver, senior director of the Visit Knoxville Sports Commission. “We are excited to regain the title of largest Classic ever with a total attendance of 163,914 throughout a weekend of events in Knoxville. All of our local partners enjoy working with the team at B.A.S.S. who continue to do all facets of their events at a very high level.” and the B.A.S.S. social media channels also broke records for engagement as fans devoured content on the web and social channels. During the 2023 Bassmaster Classic, records were set for social media impressions, engagement and video views as well as BassTrakk page views and streams of Bassmaster LIVE coverage — 1.2 million streams for more than 32.7 million minutes across, Tubi and the FOX Sports digital platforms.

“The record numbers for digital engagement really show the passion of our fans,” said Jim Sexton, B.A.S.S. vice president of digital. “Fans were obsessed, checking BassTrakk more than 4.7 million times while also closely following some of the fun stories of our anglers and the city of Knoxville highlighted on social.”

The world’s best anglers will take center stage again April 20-23 for the Marathon Bassmaster Elite at Lake Murray, with full coverage each day on


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