Answer: Bill Rasmussen, the founder of ESPN, one of the 100 most important people in American sports history and named by Sports Illustrated as one of 40 people who significantly affected the world of sports, has revealed the inside story of the birth of ESPN in his book, “Sports Junkies Rejoice! The Birth of ESPN.” A new paperback edition of the bestselling book is now on sale at ESPNFounder.com. “Sports Junkies Rejoice! The Birth of ESPN” is Rasmussen’s personal account of the launch of the Total Sports Network that he founded over 30 years ago. On September 7, 1979, ESPN went on the air for the first time. Entrepreneurial daring, 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. Rasmussen is the man who had the dream, the founder of ESPN. A life-long entrepreneur and sports fan, Rasmussen’s book reveals his pivotal innovations in advertising, sports and broadcasting , including the creation of “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.
Question 2: What is your experience that sets you up as a thought leader?
Answer: “Sports Junkies Rejoice! The Birth of ESPN” gives sports fans the real insider’s account of a man who changed the landscape of television and sports forever. Imagine a world without ESPN, without 24-hour television channels, and a world of only three television networks. That was the way of the world before Rasmussen’s revolutionary brainstorm, born of adversity and launched despite the odds. Readers of “Sports Junkies Rejoice! The Birth of ESPN” will learn how Rasmussen came up with the idea for ESPN, how he persevered in spite of the naysayers, and how his ideas connected with true sports fans around the United States and eventually the world.
Question 3: Why did you write your book?
Answer: To tell the real story and to promote American entrepreneurship. To inspire kids who are just getting their starts in life.
Question 4: What’s your goal with this book?
Answer: That this is a huge business opportunity–the world of sports. The kids today in almost school have videography, media classes, writing classes. This is their time to do anything they can imagine.
Question 5: Do you hope to use your book for growing your business? If so how?
Answer: Yes, through speaking engagements and TV/radio interviews.
At the end of my interview with Bill he mentioned that he grew up in the 40’s going to Comiskey Park (35th Street & Shields Avenue, Chicago, Illinois–was the ballpark in which the Chicago White Sox played from 1910 to 1990). His next project will involve publishing his stories of his years enjoying great baseball in Chicago.
Here is someone who holds so much wisdom that you wish you could follow him for a week asking every question you ever had about sports and business. He is so passionate about both and also about passing on his wisdom to anyone who wants it, especially our next generation just coming into the workplace–one of my passions.
And competition? Rasmussen does not see there is anything wrong with that. The environment we’ve been given in this country offers a playing field to do things. Rasmussen’s insight that what he and the others who grew EPSN could do here in the US could not have been done the same elsewhere in the world. He shared that he has been around long enough to know that the country has had issues with its leaders as long as he can remember. The important thing is to focus all the great things we can do here.
This is a book that every parent should buy for their high school or college grad to provide them with a structure for starting their professional lives with great wisdom and energy.
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