ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen '54 Building "New Sensation"
November 29, 2009
November 29, 2009, Greencastle, Ind. — "At 77, Bill Rasmussen should be comfortably retired, lounging in his Florida home with his feet up, watching football games on ESPN," begins a story in the Southtown Star of Tinley Park, Illinois. "It's different when you're the man who created ESPN. Instead, you keep trying to create a new sensation."
The article on Rasmussen, a 1954 DePauw University graduate who grew up in the Chicago suburbs, examines his latest creation, College Fanz Sports Network. As Tim Cronin writes, the Web site "streams small college sports online and acts as an electronic hangout for fans of the hundreds of NAIA and NCAA Division II and III schools across the country that ESPN doesn't cover."
"There are a lot of similarities to the start of ESPN," Rasmussen tells the newspaper. "The question was always, 'Who's going to watch?' Then people said, 'People won't watch sports for 24 hours.' "
Taking chances is nothing new for Rasmussen, "a guy who first financed ESPN by putting a $9,000 cash advance on his credit card and borrowed from his parents." He notes, "We did a game at St. Francis at Fort Wayne, Ind., and we had 26,000 unique views," he said. "Fans of small colleges are as enthusiastic as fans in a 90,000-seat stadium. At the end of this month, we'll have had about 200,000 unique visitors."
Read the complete story at the Star's Web site.
Learn more about Rasmussen -- who co-founded ESPN with his son, Scott '86, and has been called "the father of cable sports" by USA Today-- in this recent article. Rasmussen was recognized in 1994 by Sports Illustrated as one of 40 individuals who had the greatest impact on the world of sports over the previous 40 years.Back