ESPN Magazine Taps People Gone Fishin’

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – ESPN has stumbled onto a niche that seems to be thriving despite the recession — people who literally have gone fishing.

The Walt Disney Co owned sports network said on Wednesday that it had added 44 percent more pages than planned to an insert in its Bassmaster Magazine aimed at saltwater fishermen because of advertiser demand.

From product expos at bass pro shops to the Bassmaster Classic fishing competition, companies that supply equipment and boats for bass enthusiasts are seeing greater interest, said James Hall, editor of Bassmaster Magazine and the supplement, ESPN Outdoors Saltwater magazine.

“It’s pretty remarkable. Everywhere we turn we are hearing it,” Hall said. “If you don’t have to go to work, what better thing is there to do than go bass fishing?”

Hall said that because of the interest in the saltwater supplement, ESPN was considering publishing it quarterly instead of annually.

This is the first time the magazine has published this supplement, which will be sent to half of Bassmaster’s 500,000 subscribers this year. ESPN would not say how much advertising revenue it had earned through it.

Hall said he received more than 18,000 requests for an online edition, which will be available on March 17.

People who read Bassmaster are generally middle-aged men who can afford boats, large vehicles to tow them, and an average of 20 rod and reel combinations that can go for $500 apiece, Hall said.

(Reporting by Gina Keating)

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