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St. Thomas to be the Star of ESPN Fishing Shows

March 8, 2005 –– St. Thomas will be the star when ESPN 2 runs fishing shows with parts shot in August 2004 in and around St. Thomas. The shows will air Sunday and March 20.
"It's lots of good exposure," Frank Hurt, ESPN Billfishing Xtreme Release League director, said Tuesday.
V.I. Tourism Department marketing director Steve Bornn said that the exposure for the territory was invaluable. And since ESPN shows repeat, viewers will have more chances to see St. Thomas and the waters that surround it, Bornn said Tuesday . He estimated that millions of households will tune in.
"We got a warm and fuzzy out of it," Bornn said.
"Big Gamefishing the World" featuring St. Thomas airs at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. Hurt said host Norm Isaacs travels the world to film his show.
"Fire Department of New York Marlin Challenge" airs at 11 a.m. Sunday
Hurt said that in addition to New York City-based fireman, it features their St. Thomas counterparts. In was filmed on the North Drop as well as at various locations around St. Thomas as part of the "Billfishing Xtreme Grand Championship" series.
Bornn said that St. Thomas firemen went to the airport with a fire truck to greet the New Yorker City firemen.
"It was tremendous and all captured on tape," he said of the August event.
He said the Tourism Department convinced ESPN officials to create the "Fire Department of New York Marlin Challenge" when they were shooting a segment of the "Billfishing Extreme Grand Championship" on St. Thomas.
"We have to stand out and be unique," he said.
"Billfishing Extreme Grand Championship" airs at 11 a.m. March 20.
Hurt said the "Billfishing Extreme Grand Championship" is shot at five different locations over the space of five or six months. It features six teams competing for a $250,000 grand prize as well as prize money and points at the five tournaments. Those tournaments were held on St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Antigua, and Key Largo, Fla.
Hurt said Virgin Islands residents should look for St. Thomas-based fishing boat crews as well as Bolongo Bay Beach Club staff in the footage.
Bornn said that while the Tourism Department was a major sponsor, its participation cost the government very little because things like rooms at Bolongo Bay were donated.
Hurt said "Billfishing Extreme Grand Championship" shows for 2005 are already in production. He anticipated that the St. Thomas segment will be shot in September.

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