ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen, the legendary entrepreneur who single-handedly changed the way the world watches sports and television, is among the four individuals who will be inducted into the Cynopsis Sports Business Hall of Fame in New York tomorrow, Thursday, June 23rd, in a ceremony at the New York Athletic Club.
Rasmussen, along with Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, Major League Baseball’s Vice President of Social Responsibility & Inclusion, Billy Bean, and Lesa France Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairperson of the Board of Directors for International Speedway Corporation and Vice Chairperson of NASCAR, are the four inductees who will be honored Thursday afternoon.
Cynopsis Sports, the leading daily publication for sports media executives, will in induct the quartet of distinguished executives in the 2016 Hall of Fame at the fifth annual Cynopsis Sports Business Summit on Thursday, June 23rd at the New York Athletic Club in New York City. The honorees from MLB, International Speedway Corporation, ESPN and Sports Illustrated have each transformed how sports and pop culture intersect.
“We are honored to welcome four of the industry’s true trailblazers, who have each left an impact on the business and have opened doors for the public to view sports as never before,” said Chris Pursell, Director of Sports Content and Editor of Cynopsis Sports.
Rasmussen’s legacy in sports has resonated not only throughout the country, but around the world as he gave the world its first 24-hour television network for sports. As the Founder of ESPN, he broke the advertising barrier to cable television by signing Anheuser Busch to the largest cable TV advertising contract ever. As a life-long entrepreneur and sports fan, Rasmussen’s innovations in advertising, sports and broadcasting are tremendous and include the creation of “Sports Center,” wall-to-wall coverage of NCAA regular-season and “March Madness” college basketball, and coverage of the College World Series.
Never one to rest on his laurels, Rasmussen and his new business partner, J. Hutton Pulitzer, launched a new company, FEVR, in January 2016. FEVR has introduced to the sports world a new technology designed to interact with existing venue media systems and the more than 11.9 billion mobile devices, which already operate containing Pulitzer’s pioneering communication and Internet patents.
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. The man who had the dream, the founder of ESPN, is Bill Rasmussen.
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.
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 “Forty for the Ages,” one of 40 individuals who has significantly altered and elevated the world of sport.
In March 2011 Rasmussen was honored in a special luncheon ceremony at the 10th annual IMG World Congress of Sports in Miami as he was inducted into 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.
His essential role in the creation of ESPN is recognized throughout ESPN today, including a special commemorative plaque dedicated to Rasmussen at the Bristol, Connecticut headquarters at the company’s flagpole.
Rasmussen revealed the inside story of the birth of ESPN in his book Sports Junkies Rejoice! The Birth of ESPN, which was recently published in a brand-new paperback edition, and also available in digital format for most electronic reading devices. His book gives the real insider’s account from the man who changed the landscape of television and sports forever.
Rasmussen is a gifted raconteur and a popular public speaker discussing American entrepreneurship, innovation, and the birth of ESPN. He is also a frequent guest on radio and television shows. Rasmussen’s recent speaking tour has included engagements at Villanova University, Rutgers University, University of South Carolina, University of Kansas, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Bay Path College, Princeton University, Quinnipiac University’s School of Law, the University of Florida School of Law, Azusa Pacific University, Lindenwood University, Saint Xavier University, Indiana Tech, Kansas State University, Wichita State University, and The Center for Sports Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University, among others.
Executives from sports brands, networks and leagues will share key perspectives on growing brands, monetizing value and building communities by tapping into the unrivaled passion of the sports fan. The June 23rd Summit will feature a lineup of speakers from brands, networks and companies such as AEG Global Partnerships, BTN, Bruin Sports Capital, CSE, FIBA, FOX Sports, Instagram, Intel, LiveLike VR, MLB, NBC Sports Group, NeuLion, Octagon, Oculus VR, the PGA TOUR, Sportradar US, Tennis Channel, VICE Sports, Whistle Sports Network and many more.
The Summit, sponsored by NeuLion, Phoenix Marketing International, Sportradar, and rEvolution, will be held at the New York Athletic Club in New York City and will feature keynotes from FIBA and Intel, plus content-rich sessions focused on the state of the industry, virtual reality, OTT and more. For more details, go to http://www.
Additional information about ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen is available at his website, http://www.ESPNFounder.com .