Scorecard Snapshot – Broadcast News

Photo FLW Outdoors.

For a full-time rancher, Darrel Robertson of Oklahoma has had a hell of a career as a pro fisherman. He’s amassed over $1.7 million in FLW Outdoors winnings, over a third of it as the result of his victory at the 1999 Ranger M1 Millennium tournament held at Cypress Gardens, Florida. His other win came in an FLW Tour Major on Ft. Gibson Lake, just two months earlier. Together, they were worth $860,000.

Robertson’s victory in the M1 was a big deal in the bass fishing industry because his oversized check for $600,000 marked the largest single tournament haul to that date. It was also significant in the sport’s rise for another reason: the potential exposure that would result from it. It was broadcast live on Fox Sports. As FLW wrote in their summary of the tournament:

 “For the first time in network history, sports fans nationwide were able to see the action unfold live on the network television’s first broadcast of a bass fishing tournament. FOX Sports employed a crew of more than 100 production professionals to cover the 9-mile, 14-lake venue using more than 15 boats, a helicopter, mobile production facilities, and sophisticated radio frequency relay equipment.”

 If those technologies sound familiar, it’s probably because many of them have since been employed in both FLW and BASS tournament coverage in the form of live blogs, war rooms and iterative leaderboards. Much of that has been transferred to the internet, but in many ways the M1 provided a blueprint.

Fox Sports employed longtime “traditional” sports commentators Joe Buck and Bob Brenly, along with Forrest Wood, the tour’s namesake, to explain the event. The network also did their best to hype the event before it started. As New York Times television critic Richard Sandomir noted, “Fox tried to enliven the tournament with zippy production. During the Bears-Packers game leading into it, Fox posted a running countdown-to-bass-fishing clock box on the screen.” Sandomir also noted with surprise that the show garnered the same overnight rating as the Breeder’s Cup on NBC.

While the TV production values may have been unprecedented for the sport, there was a little bit of controversy regarding the final weigh-in, specifically the broadcast itself. Do you remember what happened?

The answer and winner will be revealed Thursday, July 19, 2012. Good luck!

  • Fritts vs. Robertson, partial weigh-in, where Fritts appeared to have more weight the final day, but Robertson was declared the winner. A final scoreboard was never shown or correction announced, making it seem like Fritts should have won and that Robertson was incorrectly awarded the victory. Turns out they determined that there was a weighing error that included the lid as part of Fritts’ weight.

    Bonus points for relevant links? Here ya’ go…

  • Harold Sharp

    The BASS Classic in 1986 at Chattanooga and the BASS Classic 1987 at Louisville on the Ohio River, both weigh-ins were broadcast live on TNN Network television. Does this count ? The quotes here is,”For the first time in network history, sport fans nationwide were able to see the action unfold live on the network tevelvisions first broadcast of a Bass fishing tournament”.

  • Pete

    Harold, the use of the word “network” came from FLW, so take it with a grain of salt, but I don’t think their statements are inconsistent with yours:

    “For the first time in network history” — in this case, the network would be FOX. If they meant “network television,” presumably they would have said so.

    “able to see the action unfold live on the network television’s first broadcast of a bass fishing tournament.” — again, I’m putting words in their mouth, but FLW attempted to cover some of the on-the-water action live, whereas by your description in 86/87 BASS just televised the weigh-ins live.

  • Harold Sharp

    BASS and TNN had several camera boats on the water filming the action, this was displayed on the arena screen as the anglers weighed-in. It was not show the instant it was filmed, but I don’t believe FOX did that either. The weigh-ins were telecast instanly to the TV viewers for both these Classics.

  • Pete

    The FLW broadcast did include live on-the-water coverage, albeit for only a short period of the day and even that was criticized by some observers. Here’s a snippet from an article in the Lexington (NC) Dispatch:

    “Fishing pro Darrell Robertson tried to save the day. LIVE and on camera, he hooked one of the fish that would make him the winner. But would you believe it? The action gave way to a commercial, even though the producers invested in 10 camera boats, several roving reporter boats, a roving camera boat, numerous point-of-view cameras, and several miniature underwater cameras to capture a LIVE moment like this one.”

  • Harold Sharp

    We had a TNN camera just in front of the weigh-in scales with a TNN Director giving me signals as to when to bring up the next angler because TNN was running commercials, so the TNN Director was directing our weigh-ins with hand signals to me and I passed them along to a BASS staff member holding the anglers until we needed them on stage. While they were coming on stage and bagging fish they would show footage shot on the lake of his catch.

  • Harold Sharp

    For more on the FOX report on M-i, look at the first comment by Brian and click on the link at the bottom of his comment,”error-mars-tournament” click on that and when it open look left for “TV Sports:Heard the one about Fox”, click on that.

  • Harold Sharp

    If anyone is interested in watching the video of the 1986 BASS Classic, which was the first one telecast live, here’s where you can find it;
    Go to the BASS web page at
    Click on Video in the top menu…Type 1986 BASS Classic in the search.
    scroll down to 1986 Bassmasters Classic and click on “Watch this video”.
    It about an hour lomng but very good.