It is safe to say that Bill 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. He had his innovative brainstorm for an all-sports cable TV network within days of his firing by the New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association. His idea captured his imagination, and 14 months later, ESPN was on air for the first time. 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 College World Series. Bill’s entrepreneurial daring, his irrepressible enthusiasm and a dash of good luck gave the world the first 24-hour television network. Once unleashed upon sports fans, ESPN’s impact forever changed the way we watch television.
The Birth of ESPN
“This is a guy whose idea gave birth to, arguably, the most successful media story of our time.”
“What a tremendous honor it was to have you in Ocala to speak to our CEP Partners about your precious early days of ESPN! Your incredible vision has influenced the world in incalculable ways. Thank you.”
“Bill is a great storyteller, and he has a great story to tell, but I have to say what I appreciated most from working with Bill is the experience, and by this I mean the extent to which he most graciously made himself available to interact and socialize with our attendees during other parts of the event, including a couple of extra-curricular evenings! Keynote speakers and presentations come and go – we see and hear so many, but the opportunity for so many attendees to interact personally, casually, one-on-one with the speaker – this is what makes an event truly memorable for an attendee.”
“This guy created more jobs in the sports world than anyone in sports history.”
“Mr. Rasmussen was very charming, relatable and down to earth!! He was very engaging, smart and just a joy to be around. The chemistry was amazing and I feel like an old friend is leaving me when I had to say goodbye. He was just awesome and we thank him for making the experience for our student leaders so memorable!”