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Bill-Rasmussen

Bill Rasmussen

Founder of ESPN; Legendary Entrepreneur; Strategic Business Advisor

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…

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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.

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.

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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.

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