The 4th Annual Maastricht Institute of Entrepreneurship
at Missouri Valley College Campus April 19-21, 2010
Founder ESPN and College Fanz • Grand Island, NE
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.
A life-long entrepreneur and sports fan, Mr. Rasmussen's innovations in advertising, sports and broadcasting are numerous and include the creation of Sports Center, wall-to-wall coverage of NCAA regular-season and March Madness college basketball, and coverage of the NFL Draft. He broke the advertising barrier to cable television by signing Anheuser Busch to the largest cable TV advertising contract ever.
Mr. Rasmussen's latest innovation, College Fanz Sports Network, is changing the way college sports news and information is delivered to fans worldwide, just as his earlier creation, ESPN, changed the way people watched television. Launched 28 years to the day that his most famous earlier creation debuted, College Fanz is the world's largest online college sports community for students, alumni, and other fans of college sports.
College Fanz boasts over 22,000 web pages devoted to every team at the more than 1,450 colleges and universities throughout the United States competing in over 225,000 NCAA and NAIA athletic events. Fans can post videos, photographs, and comment on their favorite teams and schools, participate in contests, and communicate with other fans in a compelling and evergrowing social network.
Recently, Mr. Rasmussen and the College Fanz team have added live television broadcasts via the web site, enhancing College Fanz with the inaugural season of the College Fanz NAIA Football Game of the Week, the College Fanz NAIA Basketball Game of the Week and other original programming to create a truly unique 24/7/365 Internet channel. In the 2010-2011 college sports year, College Fanz will partner with 30 different colleges across the U.S.A. in the College Fanz Mobile Broadcast Unit on Campus program, increasing the live and on demand broadcast programming to over 500 college football and 1,500 college basketball contests as well as broadcasts of other college sports events.
For his many accomplishments, Mr. 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 forty individuals who has significantly altered and elevated the world of sport during the second half of the 20th century. He has been called The Father of Cable Sports by USA Today.
Mr. Rasmussen was recently guest of honor at ESPN's 30th Anniversary celebrations in Bristol, Connecticut. The father of ESPN, Mr. Rasmussen threw out the ceremonial first pitch during ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball coverage of the Phillies/Mets game September 13, 2009. He continues to be a popular guest on the speaking circuit, with recent engagements at Princeton University, the University of Florida, and The Center for Sports Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University among others. In August 2009, he delivered the keynote address at the Centennial Celebration of Lambda Chi Alpha in Indianapolis. Mr. Rasmussen is a frequent guest on radio and television and is the author of the best-selling book, Sports Junkies Rejoice! The Birth of ESPN. A United States Air Force veteran, Mr. Rasmussen received his bachelors degree in Economics from DePauw University and his MBA from Rutgers University.