Monday, September 26, 2011
ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen Speaking Tonight at Auburn University (Tuesday, September 27th) at 7:30 p.m. in the Auburn University Student Center
Auburn, Alabama – September 27, 2011 – Tonight, Bill Rasmussen, the legendary entrepreneur who founded ESPN as well as the author of “Sports Junkies Rejoice! The Birth of ESPN” will speak at Auburn University Tuesday, September 27th at 7:30 p.m. in the Auburn University Student Center. The event is sponsored by the Auburn University Program Council.
In Rasmussen’s presentation, the audience is given a rare opportunity to hear and feel the stories of a man who was considered by the three major television networks at the time (ABC, NBC & CBS) a dreamer and all-around “crazy man” to even think that he could compete with them.
Jim Miller, the co-author of the recent best-selling book, “Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside the World of ESPN,” recently told John Ourand of The Sports Business Journal that “this is a guy whose idea gave birth to, arguably, the most successful media story of our time.”
Try to imagine the world without ESPN and Sports Center, and for many, it is impossible. It is safe to say that Rasmussen changed the face of sports, and the face of television. His brainstorm for a 24-hour cable sports television station, born out of adversity, has become the Worldwide Leader in Sports, ESPN.
A former radio and television sports broadcaster, Rasmussen had been the Whalers Communications Director, but when the Whalers didn’t make the 1978 WHA playoffs, Rasmussen and others on staff were fired. His idea for an all-sports cable TV network captured his imagination, and he incorporated the fledgling network on July 14, 1978. He had already begun to seek out cable television companies, sponsors, investors and partners. With an idea that was truly ahead of its time, and running out of cash, Rasmussen found one investor who believed in the concept in February, 1979, and by September 7, 1979, ESPN was on the air for the first time, 14 months from Rasmussen’s moment of inspiration.
A life-long entrepreneur and sports fan, Rasmussen’s innovations in advertising, sports and broadcasting are numerous and include not only the creation of ESPN, but also the concept for “Sports Center,” wall-to-wall coverage of NCAA regular-season and “March Madness” college basketball, and coverage of the NFL Draft. He broke the advertising barrier to cable television by signing Anheuser Busch to the largest cable TV advertising contract ever.
Named “The Father of Cable Sports” by USA Today, Rasmussen was named to The Sports 100, honoring the 100 most important people in American Sports History. His place in sports history was further recognized by Sports Illustrated in 1994, when he was honored as one of the “40 for the Ages,” one of 40 individuals who has significantly altered and elevated the world of sport in the last half of the 20th Century. Rasmussen was named to the 2011 class of “The Champions: Pioneers & Innovators in Sports Business,” an award from the Sports Business Journal and the Sports Business Daily recognizing the architects and builders of sports.
Additional information about Rasmussen is available at http://www.ESPNFounder.com. In addition, Rasmussen has established a website, http://www.espnfounder.com/speaking_tour.htm, where colleges, businesses, groups and corporations can “book” him to speak about the genesis of ESPN, and his integral role in the creation of one of the world’s most powerful properties.
Jim DeLorenzo, Jim DeLorenzo Public Relations