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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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ESPN will host two more viewings of the St. Lawrence River Showdown


WADDINGTON — ESPN2 is drawing fire from residents who were unable to watch Sunday morning’s broadcast of the Bassmaster Elite Series Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown on the St. Lawrence River.

Resident Matthew D. O’Bryan got up early on Sunday with his wife and three sons to watch the presentation of the Bassmaster tournament from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on ESPN2. But due to scheduling delays, Mr. O’Bryan found himself watching the second half of a girls’ softball game instead.

Fortunately for Mr. O’Bryan, he, like some other residents, had upgraded his cable package for $8.99 a month to get the ESPN Classic channel, and he was able to catch the 10 a.m. to noon showing on there. People who had access only to ESPN2 missed seeing the event.

“Those of us who already live up here bought the channel because they are proud of their hometown,” Mr. O’Bryan said. “But for those fishing fans from elsewhere who get up every Sunday morning to watch their favorite fishing show, they moved on to something else. They will never know. That’s the disappointing part of it, really.”

To further complicate matters, even though the event’s main stage and launches took place in Waddington, the show was listed and presented as taking place in Ogdensburg. Evan Williams Bourbon, the event’s sponsor, also was not listed.

“I am hoping that the powers that be will do what they can to change that,” Mayor Janet M. Otto-Cassada said. “Whoever is responsible, I doubt anything was deliberately done. Besides, Ogdensburg is our neighbor, and we want them to benefit from this just as much as us.”

Robert J. Giordano, event coordinator, said he has informed Bassmasters about the situation.

“It’s one of those things that happen in the marketing world,” Mr. Giordano said. “It’s happened before. The way I look at it is, this is all for the north country. We let the right people know about this, and we are trying to correct it.”

The two-hour spot on ESPN2 is reportedly the equivalent of $2 million in advertising for the region, according to organizers.

“We don’t think this will hurt us,” Mrs. Otto-Cassada said. “We still got advertising for the region, even if we didn’t get the credit, which was the goal, anyway.”

The show is expected to run twice on ESPN2, Mr. Giordano said.

“Contractually, under an agreement with B.A.S.S., ESPN2 is required to air the show two times,” he said. “B.A.S.S. is still working that out with ESPN.”

The show will air at 6 a.m. Sept. 9 A second airing has not yet been set.

“It’s something that B.A.S.S. is aware of and we’re working with ESPN to correct,” Michael Mulone, Bassmaster’s director of events and tourism partnerships, said.

Requests for comment from ESPN and its affiliates were not returned Monday.

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