Hard Rock to sponsor 2013 Bassmaster Classic in Tulsa
BY KELLY BOSTIAN World Outdoors Writer
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
12/27/12 at 1:47 PM
As of Tuesday, it is officially the 2013 Bassmaster Classic presented by Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.
Representatives of BASS, the Cherokee Nation, Tulsa Sports Commission, VisitTulsa and the Tulsa Regional Chamber announced Tuesday that the Hard Rock has signed on to be the presenting sponsor for the 2013 Bassmaster Classic set for Feb. 22-24 at Grand Lake O' The Cherokees and Tulsa's BOK Center.
The resort's brand will be prominent throughout the event and in subsequent television broadcasts of the Classic on ESPN2 in March. The amount involved is confidential, but Cherokee Nation Entertainment Chief Operating Officer Mark Fulton indicated the financial and in-kind agreement is substantial.
"Basically it's BASS, ESPN and then us," he said.
As a major sponsor of past events in Tulsa, such as the 2007 PGA Championship, and as a founding and long-term sponsor of the BOK Center, the group has been involved as a planning partner with local officials to bring the so-called Superbowl of Bass Fishing to northeast Oklahoma. "This is really their child; we just helped bring it to fruition," Fulton said of local planners.
Jeff Stava, Local Organizing Committee chairman for the event, said the sponsorship allows the LOC to treat fans and sponsors to a first-rate experience. Some items it will help fund include public information and marketing, launch festivities at Grand Lake, fan experience features in the downtown area, and shuttle buses between hotels, event venues and Tulsa's entertainment districts.
"It's rolling out the welcome mat, that's what it's all about," he said. "It's giving people a great time, making sure they have a good impression when they leave and that they want to come back."
The scope and lasting impact of the event was attractive for Cherokee Nation, Fulton said.
"Any time we have a national event that we feel benefits Tulsa and the region we look at it, and we felt like this was a great opportunity," he said. "When you look at the proposal and everything that is going on, this is not just a one-time event with BASS but an effort to bring more events and tournaments to the area."
Cherokee Nation lands cover the corridor from Catoosa to Grand Lake.
"It is Grand Lake O' the Cherokees; it's kind of a natural fit," Fulton said.
At a Tuesday morning press conference, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker recognized the event as an economic boost for northeast Oklahoma and Cherokee communities.
"We are pleased to partner with BASS and the Tulsa Regional Chamber's Tulsa Sports Commission to make this wonderful event possible," he said.
The Classic pits 53 of the nation's top qualifying anglers in competition for $500,000 and bass fishing's most coveted trophy. Weigh-ins will be held each day at the BOK Center, and the BASS Outdoor Expo will be in progress throughout the event at the Tulsa Convention Center. Attendance is expected to top 100,000 with $26 million in local economic impact.
2013 Bassmaster Classic
When: Feb. 22-24
Where: Tulsa and Grand Lake
Launch: Grand Lake (Wolf Creek area of Grove)
Weigh-in: BOK Center
Expo: Tulsa Convention Center
Original Print Headline: Hard Rock to sponsor Bass Classic
Kelly Bostian 918-581-8357