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Sat., Aug. 29
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ESPN, affiliates take heat for not airing Bassmaster tournament and billing Waddington tournament as being held in Ogdensburg


WADDINGTON — ESPN2 is drawing fire from residents who were unable to watch Sunday morning’s broadcast of the Bassmaster Elite Series’ Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown on the St. Lawrence River.

Village resident Matthew D. O’Bryan got up early Sunday with his wife and three sons to watch the presentation of the Bassmaster tournament, scheduled to air from 8 to 10 a.m. on ESPN2.

Due to scheduling delays, Mr. O’Bryan found himself watching the second half of a girls’ softball game instead.

Fortunately, he had upgraded his cable package to get the ESPN Classic channel, and was able to catch that network’s 10 a.m. to noon showing. Still, people who only had access to ESPN2 missed seeing the event.

“For those fishing fans from elsewhere who get up every Sunday morning to watch their favorite fishing show, they moved on to something else,” he said. “They will never know. That’s the disappointing part of it, really.”

To further complicate matters, even though the event’s main stage and launches took place in Waddington, the show was listed and presented as taking place in Ogdensburg. Evan Williams Bourbon, the event’s banner sponsor, also was not mentioned.

“I am hoping that the powers that be will do what they can to change that,” Mayor Janet M. Otto-Cassada said. “Whoever is responsible, I doubt anything was deliberately done. Besides, Ogdensburg is our neighbor, and we want them to benefit from this just as much us.”

Robert J. Giordano, event coordinator, said he has informed Bassmasters about the situation.

“It’s one of those things that happened in the marketing world,” Mr. Giordano said. “It’s happened before. The way I look at it is this is all for the north country. We let the right people know about this, and we are trying to correct it.”

A two-hour spot on ESPN2 is reportedly the equivalent of $2 million in advertising for the region, according to organizers.

“We don’t think this will hurt us,” Mrs. Otto-Cassada said. “We still got advertising for the region, even if we didn’t get the credit, which was the goal, anyway.”

The show is expected to run twice on ESPN2, Mr. Giordano said.

“Contractually, under an agreement with B.A.S.S. (the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society), ESPN2 is required to air the show two times,” he said. “B.A.S.S. is still working that out with ESPN.”

The show is also slated to air on Sept. 9 at 6 a.m.

“It’s something that B.A.S.S. is aware of and we’re working with ESPN to correct,” Michael Mulone, Bassmaster’s director of events and tourism partnerships, said.

Request for comment by ESPN and its affiliates, ESPN2 and ESPN Classic, were not answered Monday.

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