Super Bowl of fishing tournaments, the 50th annual Bassmaster Classic is coming to Birmingham

Bassmaster Classic held at the BJCC in 2014. Photo from B.A.S.S.

The Super Bowl of bass fishing is coming back to Birmingham in 2020 for its Golden Anniversary.

B.A.S.S. has announced that the 50th Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, will be held in Birmingham with the fishing competition taking place on Lake Guntersville.

March 6-8, 2020

News conference at the BJCC announcing the 50th Anniversary Bassmaster Classic to be held in 2020.

The iconic world championship fishing tournament will be held March 6-8, with daily weigh-ins and the Classic Outdoors Expo taking place in the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) in downtown Birmingham, B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin said during a press conference Monday afternoon at the BJCC.

“It’s fitting that the golden anniversary Classic be held in Alabama, where B.A.S.S. was founded more than 50 years ago,” Akin said. “Our plans are to make this the most spectacular celebration of bass fishing in history.”

The Classic was first held at Lake Mead, Nevada, in October 1971. The tournament was the brainchild of B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott, who wanted a way to determine an ultimate champion at the end of every tournament season. It has since been held in Alabama 12 times, eight of those in Birmingham. 

Super Bowl of bass fishing

“We are so proud to once again host the Bassmaster Classic, the Super Bowl of bass fishing,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin. “We look forward to the great competition the Classic attracts and the dedicated fans who will gather in Birmingham for this incredible event.”

According to John Oros, president and CEO of the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau, the 2018 Bassmaster Classic which was held in Knoxville was a $32 million economic boon for hotels, restaurants, attractions and retailers in that city.

Lake Guntersville

Twice previously — in 1976 and 2014 — the Bassmasters Classic has taken place on Lake Guntersville, which has become synonymous with bass fishing greatness over the past half-century.

The 68,000-acre Tennessee River fishery, which is a popular destination for bass fishing enthusiasts from across the country, will also play host to a regular-season Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on June 21-24, 2019.

That 23rd major B.A.S.S. event will make Guntersville the second-most visited lake in B.A.S.S. history, behind only Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas.

150,000 Fans Expected

Bass boats at the BJCC during the Bassmasters Classic announcement on April 22, 2019.

The 2018 Classic attracted 143,323 fans to all activities, including the Get Hooked on Fishing activity center, morning takeoffs, weigh-ins and the Expo. That was an all-time record until this year’s event on the Tennessee River in Knoxville drew 153,809.

Birmingham hopes to break that record for the 50th Anniversary.

A Global Event

The Classic will be covered live and streamed on Bassmaster.com, ESPN3 and the ESPN App, and five hours of original programming will be aired on ESPN2 and the Pursuit Channel following the event. In addition, the Classic annually draws more than 250 credentialed media.

A global event, the 2019 Classic was covered by journalists from 28 states as well as Japan, China, Australia, Italy, Germany and Canada.

Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.