Major League Fishing reported that online viewership of the Bass Pro Tour has increased in 2020 – both before and after the impact of the coronavirus.
With an abundance of caution, MLF fished through the latest BPT event in Texas after putting into place several recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control to minimize the spread of COVID-19. This last week, March 13-18, viewership increased by 20 percent over Stages One and Two, which were held in February. On their own, the February events reported a significant increase over the 2019 season with a 72 percent increase in unique tune-ins year-over-year.
“After our first season, we made some minor adjustments to our game that we believe resonated well with fans, causing the increase in viewership in February,” said Jim Wilburn, president and CEO of Major League Fishing. “Going into Stage Three last week, we had no idea how much the sports world would change and we’re hopeful that those who tuned into the Bass Pro Tour found a few hours of respite among an unprecedented reality at work and home. Our sport inherently allows social distancing and without a weigh-in, we can broadcast safely via MLFNOW! without crowds.”
MLF completed the 2019 season with over 111 million minutes of livestream watched by an average of 270,000 unique visitors over nine events. After the first three Stages of the 2020 Bass Pro Tour, MLF averages 471,698 unique visitors and 48 million minutes streamed, an increase of 75 percent year-over-year. Social media impressions are also up 15 percent in 2020 over 2019.
Stage Three saw the most significant increase with over 19 million minutes watched by 500,000 unique visitors. This represents a 20 percent increase in unique visitors and an 18 percent increase in minutes viewed over Stage Two (Feb. 21-26). The Bass Pro Tour trended on social media (Facebook and Instagram) during Stage Three with a 72 percent increase in social media impressions compared to Stage Two.
While the increases in Stage Three viewership may have been impacted by the national quarantine surrounding COVID-19, the first two Stages of the Bass Pro Tour also saw significant increases over the 2019 season. The MLFNOW! livestream attracted over 886,000 unique viewers over two events for a total of 30 million minutes, which represented an increase of 72 percent year-over-year and an 89 percent over 2019 averages.