KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Professional bass fishing’s biggest event is returning to Tennessee River waterways next year. The Bassmaster Classic will be held in Knoxville in 2023 for the second time after its 2019 East Tennessee premiere in which local angler Ott DeFoe was crowned champion.
The City of Knoxville tweeted the announcement Wednesday morning just before a press conference with Visit Knoxville. The 2022 classic is just weeks away and will be held in Greenville, South Carolina.
B.A.S.S. officials announced Wednesday that the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk will be held in Knoxville, Tenn., March 24-26 with competition on the Tennessee River lakes of Fort Loudoun and Tellico.
Daily weigh-ins will be held at Thompson-Boling Arena at the University of Tennessee campus and the annual Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo will take place at the Knoxville Convention Center and the adjacent World’s Fair Exhibition Hall.
The Visit Knoxville Sports Commission will once again serve as host.
“Our first Bassmaster Classic in Knoxville produced record-breaking fan attendance and was one of the best Classics we’ve ever had,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Chase Anderson. “The Bassmaster Classic is the Super Bowl of Professional Bass Fishing. It’s not just a great competition; it is a true celebration of the competitors, the fans and the sport as a whole. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be headed back to Knoxville.”
With daily takeoffs from Volunteer Landing, located downtown along the Tennessee River, the 2019 Classic drew a record crowd of 153,809 spectators and generated an economic impact of $32.2 million for Knoxville and East Tennessee, according to a report released by the Visit Knoxville Sports Commission.
Fort Loudoun and Tellico lakes are twin reservoirs that cover about 30,000 acres. With the lakes connected by a canal, Bassmaster Classic anglers will be allowed to fish both. They’ll also find good fishing along the Tennessee River upstream from Fort Loudoun Dam to the Interstate 40 bridge on the Holston River and the Highway 168 bridge on the French Broad River.
The field will include 55 anglers who will qualify through the Bassmaster Elite Series, the St. Croix Bassmaster Opens, the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship, the Strike King College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops and the Bassmaster Team Championship. Prizes include $300,000 first-place prize and a total purse of over $1 million.