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Bill Rasmussen

Founder of ESPN; Legendary Entrepreneur; Strategic Business Advisor

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 Bill Rasmussen Biography

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. Bill is the man with that dream. He founded ESPN in the summer of 1978, and 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 on Memorial Day weekend. 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, Bill 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—just 14 months after his moment of inspiration.

A lifelong entrepreneur and sports fan, Bill's innovations in advertising, sports, and broadcasting are numerous and include not only the creation of ESPN, but also the concept for Sports Center, which provides wall-to-wall coverage of NCAA regular-season and "March Madness" college basketball, as well as coverage of the College World Series. He broke the advertising barrier to cable television by signing Anheuser Busch to the largest cable TV advertising contract ever.

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. Bill is the author of the best-selling book, "Sports Junkies Rejoice! The Birth of ESPN." Bill tells the inside story of the birth of ESPN in the book.

In addition to his role as the "George Washington of ESPN"—as longtime ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman has tagged him—Bill served as a consultant to the Big Ten Conference as well as several of the member institutions on television matters. He has been at the helm of numerous other startup companies both in traditional media and on the Internet.

Bill is a frequent guest on radio and television shows, including recent appearances on the nationally-syndicated radio shows "Sports Byline USA with Ron Barr" and "The Dennis Miller Show" and the cable television interview show "It's Your Call." He has also been a featured guest on the FOX News Channel's "Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld."

He has received many awards and honors over his career. Named "The Father of Cable Sports" by USA Today, Bill 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 twentieth century. He has been awarded the Bill Conners Communications Award from the Jim Thorpe Association and is currently the Executive in Residence at The Robert C. McDermond Center for Management & Entrepreneurship at DePauw University.

Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Bill went to DePauw University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Economics in 1954. He then served in the United States Air Force before beginning his professional career working for Westinghouse's lamp division (Bloomfield, NJ) in sales and marketing. He later earned his Masters of Business Administration from Rutgers University.

He frequently returns to Bristol, CT for ESPN's annual anniversary celebrations. He is a gifted raconteur and a popular public speaker discussing American entrepreneurship, innovation, and the birth of ESPN. He has spoken at numerous colleges and universities throughout the country and often delivers speeches at private corporate events, trade shows, and fundraising engagements.

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Videos
Books
Sports Junkies Rejoice: The Birth of ESPN

Sports Junkies Rejoice: The Birth of ESPN

Speaking Topics
  • The Impact of Evolving Media: Past, Present, and Future

    In this thought-provoking presentation, legendary ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen walks us through the history of media innovation—from early days of radio to the three network radio/TV system, then into the advent of cable TV, color television, 24 hour programming. Bill discusses the evolution of media all the way to the internet-age of digital content. Bill also discusses the potential future of self-selected content and programming, pointing out both the advantages and ramifications for consumers and companies. How is media defined in the digital age? What can history teach us about what's to come? And, perhaps most important, how can we use this information to future-forecast the best strategies and innovations for our own endeavors and benefit? Bill deftly takes each audience on an historical journey, using vibrant stories from ESPN and other globally recognized platforms as a foundation to show us not only where we've been, but also where we are going next.

  • Leadership from Adversity: Opportunities for Reinvention in the Modern Age

    ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen got fired from his job working for a Hartford, Connecticut-based professional hockey team and famously turned his struggles around when he took a $9,000 credit card cash advance to create a television network that is currently valued at $66 billion. “This is a guy whose idea gave birth to, arguably, the most successful media story of our time,” said author Jim Miller. Adversity—the loss of his job resulted in one of the greatest entrepreneurial success stories in television history. What can we learn from adversity? How do we react when adversity strikes? What traits do great leaders possess, and how do they handle it? Most of us will face adversity, failure, and possibly even bankruptcy in our lifetime. Will you bow to the circumstance or will you use the experience to find the leadership qualities within you to achieve rather than give up? Whether looking at your career as an individual or more broadly on the path of a company or nonprofit, Bill shares tangible leadership advice as only he can—gripping, insightful, and sure to affect the bottom line in every sense of the term.

  • The ESPN Story: From Humble Beginnings to Sports History

    What turned out to be one of the greatest success stories in the history of sports television started with a little money and one huge dream. Now as the founder of ESPN, a multi-billion dollar company, Bill Rasmussen is one of the most successful businessmen in America. In this inspiring talk, Bill reveals how even the largest accomplishments begin with small steps and personal dreams. By encouraging even the youngest of entrepreneurs to think outside the box and take meaningful risks, Bill captivates audiences by taking them back in time to the beginnings of the 24-hour sports network that changed the history of television as we know it.

News
FAQs
  • HOW TO BOOK Bill Rasmussen?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Bill Rasmussen for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers. Fill out a booking request form for Bill Rasmussen, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Bill Rasmussen or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BOOK Bill Rasmussen?

    Booking fees for Bill Rasmussen, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies according to the circumstances, including the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. Speaker fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Bill Rasmussen, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • WHO IS THE AGENT FOR Bill Rasmussen?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Bill Rasmussen for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Bill Rasmussen for your next private or corporate function.
  • WHAT IS A FULL-SERVICE TALENT BOOKING AGENCY?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Bill Rasmussen or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Bill Rasmussen or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.
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This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

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Bill Rasmussen

Founder of ESPN; Legendary Entrepreneur; Strategic Business Advisor

Travels From:
Seattle, WA, USA
Speaking Fee:

Bill Rasmussen Biography

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. Bill is the man with that dream. He founded ESPN in the summer of 1978, and 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 on Memorial Day weekend. 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, Bill 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—just 14 months after his moment of inspiration.

A lifelong entrepreneur and sports fan, Bill's innovations in advertising, sports, and broadcasting are numerous and include not only the creation of ESPN, but also the concept for Sports Center, which provides wall-to-wall coverage of NCAA regular-season and "March Madness" college basketball, as well as coverage of the College World Series. He broke the advertising barrier to cable television by signing Anheuser Busch to the largest cable TV advertising contract ever.

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. Bill is the author of the best-selling book, "Sports Junkies Rejoice! The Birth of ESPN." Bill tells the inside story of the birth of ESPN in the book.

In addition to his role as the "George Washington of ESPN"—as longtime ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman has tagged him—Bill served as a consultant to the Big Ten Conference as well as several of the member institutions on television matters. He has been at the helm of numerous other startup companies both in traditional media and on the Internet.

Bill is a frequent guest on radio and television shows, including recent appearances on the nationally-syndicated radio shows "Sports Byline USA with Ron Barr" and "The Dennis Miller Show" and the cable television interview show "It's Your Call." He has also been a featured guest on the FOX News Channel's "Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld."

He has received many awards and honors over his career. Named "The Father of Cable Sports" by USA Today, Bill 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 twentieth century. He has been awarded the Bill Conners Communications Award from the Jim Thorpe Association and is currently the Executive in Residence at The Robert C. McDermond Center for Management & Entrepreneurship at DePauw University.

Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Bill went to DePauw University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Economics in 1954. He then served in the United States Air Force before beginning his professional career working for Westinghouse's lamp division (Bloomfield, NJ) in sales and marketing. He later earned his Masters of Business Administration from Rutgers University.

He frequently returns to Bristol, CT for ESPN's annual anniversary celebrations. He is a gifted raconteur and a popular public speaker discussing American entrepreneurship, innovation, and the birth of ESPN. He has spoken at numerous colleges and universities throughout the country and often delivers speeches at private corporate events, trade shows, and fundraising engagements.

Bill Rasmussen Videos

  • Channeling Sports: ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen - YouTube

Bill Rasmussen Books

Bill Rasmussen Speaking Topics

  • The Impact of Evolving Media: Past, Present, and Future

    In this thought-provoking presentation, legendary ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen walks us through the history of media innovation—from early days of radio to the three network radio/TV system, then into the advent of cable TV, color television, 24 hour programming. Bill discusses the evolution of media all the way to the internet-age of digital content. Bill also discusses the potential future of self-selected content and programming, pointing out both the advantages and ramifications for consumers and companies. How is media defined in the digital age? What can history teach us about what's to come? And, perhaps most important, how can we use this information to future-forecast the best strategies and innovations for our own endeavors and benefit? Bill deftly takes each audience on an historical journey, using vibrant stories from ESPN and other globally recognized platforms as a foundation to show us not only where we've been, but also where we are going next.

  • Leadership from Adversity: Opportunities for Reinvention in the Modern Age

    ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen got fired from his job working for a Hartford, Connecticut-based professional hockey team and famously turned his struggles around when he took a $9,000 credit card cash advance to create a television network that is currently valued at $66 billion. “This is a guy whose idea gave birth to, arguably, the most successful media story of our time,” said author Jim Miller. Adversity—the loss of his job resulted in one of the greatest entrepreneurial success stories in television history. What can we learn from adversity? How do we react when adversity strikes? What traits do great leaders possess, and how do they handle it? Most of us will face adversity, failure, and possibly even bankruptcy in our lifetime. Will you bow to the circumstance or will you use the experience to find the leadership qualities within you to achieve rather than give up? Whether looking at your career as an individual or more broadly on the path of a company or nonprofit, Bill shares tangible leadership advice as only he can—gripping, insightful, and sure to affect the bottom line in every sense of the term.

  • The ESPN Story: From Humble Beginnings to Sports History

    What turned out to be one of the greatest success stories in the history of sports television started with a little money and one huge dream. Now as the founder of ESPN, a multi-billion dollar company, Bill Rasmussen is one of the most successful businessmen in America. In this inspiring talk, Bill reveals how even the largest accomplishments begin with small steps and personal dreams. By encouraging even the youngest of entrepreneurs to think outside the box and take meaningful risks, Bill captivates audiences by taking them back in time to the beginnings of the 24-hour sports network that changed the history of television as we know it.

FAQs on booking Bill Rasmussen

  • How to book Bill Rasmussen?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Bill Rasmussen for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers. Fill out a booking request form for Bill Rasmussen, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Bill Rasmussen or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • How much does it cost to book Bill Rasmussen?

    Booking fees for Bill Rasmussen, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies according to the circumstances, including the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. Speaker fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Bill Rasmussen, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • Who is the agent for Bill Rasmussen?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Bill Rasmussen for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Bill Rasmussen for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service talent booking agency?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Bill Rasmussen or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Bill Rasmussen or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.

Bill Rasmussen is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Bill Rasmussen for your event is $30,000 - $50,000. Bill Rasmussen generally travels from Seattle, WA, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Chris Berman, Jon Steinberg, Kevin Allocca, Steve Young and Bob Davies. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Bill Rasmussen for an upcoming event.

Bill Rasmussen Speaker Videos

  • Channeling Sports: ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen - YouTube

Bill Rasmussen Speaking Topics

  • The Impact of Evolving Media: Past, Present, and Future

    In this thought-provoking presentation, legendary ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen walks us through the history of media innovation—from early days of radio to the three network radio/TV system, then into the advent of cable TV, color television, 24 hour programming. Bill discusses the evolution of media all the way to the internet-age of digital content. Bill also discusses the potential future of self-selected content and programming, pointing out both the advantages and ramifications for consumers and companies. How is media defined in the digital age? What can history teach us about what's to come? And, perhaps most important, how can we use this information to future-forecast the best strategies and innovations for our own endeavors and benefit? Bill deftly takes each audience on an historical journey, using vibrant stories from ESPN and other globally recognized platforms as a foundation to show us not only where we've been, but also where we are going next.

  • Leadership from Adversity: Opportunities for Reinvention in the Modern Age

    ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen got fired from his job working for a Hartford, Connecticut-based professional hockey team and famously turned his struggles around when he took a $9,000 credit card cash advance to create a television network that is currently valued at $66 billion. “This is a guy whose idea gave birth to, arguably, the most successful media story of our time,” said author Jim Miller. Adversity—the loss of his job resulted in one of the greatest entrepreneurial success stories in television history. What can we learn from adversity? How do we react when adversity strikes? What traits do great leaders possess, and how do they handle it? Most of us will face adversity, failure, and possibly even bankruptcy in our lifetime. Will you bow to the circumstance or will you use the experience to find the leadership qualities within you to achieve rather than give up? Whether looking at your career as an individual or more broadly on the path of a company or nonprofit, Bill shares tangible leadership advice as only he can—gripping, insightful, and sure to affect the bottom line in every sense of the term.

  • The ESPN Story: From Humble Beginnings to Sports History

    What turned out to be one of the greatest success stories in the history of sports television started with a little money and one huge dream. Now as the founder of ESPN, a multi-billion dollar company, Bill Rasmussen is one of the most successful businessmen in America. In this inspiring talk, Bill reveals how even the largest accomplishments begin with small steps and personal dreams. By encouraging even the youngest of entrepreneurs to think outside the box and take meaningful risks, Bill captivates audiences by taking them back in time to the beginnings of the 24-hour sports network that changed the history of television as we know it.

Bill Rasmussen News

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Speakers Similar to Bill Rasmussen

This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

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