ESPN Hooks Up With B.A.S.S.

NEW YORK — In what could be the prelude to the launch of a dedicated outdoor channel, ESPN has agreed to buy B.A.S.S. Inc., the world’s largest fishing organization.

“ESPN and B.A.S.S. are two great brands with compatible assets and a shared love of the fishing and outdoor genre,” ESPN president George Bodenheimer said in a statement. “Our goal is to benefit B.A.S.S.’ large and loyal following by using our combined expertise and multimedia platforms. This acquisition, together with our expanding commitment to outdoor programming and the Great Outdoor Games, could serve as the foundation for the launch of a dedicated ESPN outdoors network.”

The deal, announced Wednesday, represents one of the rare times ESPN has acquired an existing sports supplier. In the past, the network has created such proprietary sports programming events as the X Games and the Great Outdoor Games.