WORLDWIDE AUTHORITY ON BASS FISHING
TO RELOCATE HEADQUARTERS TO CENTRAL FLORIDA
BASS TO MOVE NEAR WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT IN 2005
BASS, the worldwide authority on bass fishing, will move its headquarters to Central Florida near Walt Disney World Resort in Spring 2005. BASS offices will be located in Celebration, Fla. , in Osceola County . The move promises to create even more BASS programs at the popular vacation destination and throughout the region.
“Moving to Walt Disney World will tremendously enhance our ability to grow the sport,” said ESPN and ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer. “Our efforts to expand our reach and improve the fishing experience for millions of visitors will clearly benefit from the unique combination of fantastic fishing venues and the marketing capabilities of both groups.”
According to the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), Florida is the number one fishing destination in the United States . ASA indicates that more than one million non-resident anglers fish in Florida every year.
BASS, acquired by ESPN in April 2001, eventually will bring 120 new, higher-wage jobs to Osceola County . BASS has been based in Montgomery , Ala. , since its creation by Ray Scott in 1968. Roughly 20-25 employees involved with BASS membership fulfillment will remain in Montgomery . BASS employees were notified last November about the possibility of relocating the company.
“Our presence in Florida will allow us to deliver more value and enhanced experiences to the BASS membership, people who love the outdoors and their families, and those looking to experience the sport for the first time,” said Christine Godleski, vice president and general manager of ESPN Outdoors. “Walt Disney World and Florida offer outstanding fisheries on the resort property and throughout the Sunshine State .
“We are very proud to say BASS and ESPN Outdoors will continue to have many ties to Alabama – in fact, we have scheduled a CITGO Bassmaster Tour event (Guntersville) and a Bassmaster Elite 50 event (Smith Lake) there in 2005. In addition, we would like to thank Osceola County for its significant contributions toward making our vision for the future a reality in Florida , as well as Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Enterprise Florida and the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission for their efforts.”
In 2004, BASS and Disney’s Sports & Recreation division collaborated on a new look, feel and branding of the popular fishing excursions at Walt Disney World; guests who participate in these daily trips on the Disney lakes now receive a BASS membership, among other enhancements.
“BASS-branded fishing excursions are among the most popular sports and recreation activities at the Walt Disney World Resort, and we look forward to creating even more programs and unique experiences for our guests with the worldwide authority on bass fishing moving to Central Florida ,” said Al Weiss, president of the Walt Disney World Resort. “From an economic development standpoint, we also are pleased that the Walt Disney World Resort has been able to play an instrumental role in luring the high-value jobs and other economic opportunities BASS will bring to the area.”
Weiss also serves as chairman of the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission.
"As the sports and fishing capitol of the world, Florida is delighted that BASS has chosen to locate its corporate headquarters in Osceola County ," said Gov. Jeb Bush. "BASS is a renowned leader in the realm of the 'outdoors,’ and is an excellent addition to the long list of major sports entities that proudly call Florida home. The success of BASS is based on its quality product and wise direction, and I am proud that they have chosen to invest long term in Florida . We welcome the world class organization to our state, and look forward to its continued growth and sports leadership from the Sunshine State ."
Since its inception in 2001, ESPN Outdoors has strived to inform and entertain anglers, hunters, campers and people of all ages who enjoy the outdoors. ESPN Outdoors is committed to increasing awareness of outdoor activities, a direction best exemplified by daily television programming totaling nearly 1,000 hours annually on ESPN and ESPN2.
Each year, ESPN Outdoors stages more than 30 marquee events including the CITGO Bassmaster Classic and the ESPN Great Outdoor Games. ESPN Outdoors comprises BASS, the worldwide authority on bass fishing that sanctions more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation. ESPN Outdoors also features Bassmaster.com, ESPNOutdoors.com, a weekly outdoors show on ESPN Radio as well as a growing array of promotions and activities that deliver a clear message of conservation and ethical sportsmanship.
Walt Disney World Resort is a contiguous 47-square-mile, world-class entertainment and recreation center near Orlando, Fla., featuring four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom); two water adventure parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon); 32 resort hotels (22 owned and operated by Walt Disney World); 99 holes of golf on six courses; two full-service spas; Disney's Wedding Pavilion; Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex; and Downtown Disney, an entertainment-shopping-dining complex encompassing the Marketplace, Pleasure Island and West Side.