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Bill Rasmussen '54 Among 'Pioneers & Innovators in Sports Business'

Bill Rasmussen '54 Among 'Pioneers & Innovators in Sports Business'

January 10, 2011

89669January 10, 2011, Greencastle, Ind. — Bill Rasmussen, founder of ESPN and 1954 graduate of DePauw University, is among the 2011 class of "The Champions: Pioneers & Innovators in Sports Business."  The award, presented by SportsBusiness Journal/SportsBusiness Daily, recognizes "the architects and builders of sports."

Rasmussen and the other five honorees -- including Marvin Miller, former executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association; Val Ackerman, president of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA); sports agent Barry Frank; sports executive Alan Rothenberg; and former PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beaman -- will be honored during a special ceremony at the IMG World Congress of Sports, March 30-31 in Miami.

Today's announcement notes, "The entrepreneurial Rasmussen was the man behind one of the most significant innovations in sports. Fired by the AHL's New England Whalers in '78, he followed his dream by leading a group of investors toward his vision of an all-sports network. He incorporated the idea in '78, and 14 months later, on Sept. 7, 1979, he successfully launched ESPN. From SportsCenter to a deal with Anheuser-Busch that marked the largest cable TV ad contract, Rasmussen's creativity forever changed 64580sports and pop culture."

Read more here (a subscription is required).

Called "the George Washington of ESPN" by anchor Chris Berman, Bill Rasmussen founded the cable sports network with his son, Scott, a 1986 DePauw graduate who is founder and president of Rasmussen Reports.

A column in the Toronto Star last summer declared, "ESPN made TV sports a whole new ball game." Access the piece via this article.