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Sports Junkies Rejoice! - The Birth of ESPN

It’s hard to believe, but ESPN has NOT been around forever.

When ESPN debuted on September 7, 1979 at 7:00 PM, there were no 24 hour networks. The “Big Three” ABC, CBS, NBC did not broadcast from 1:00 - 7:00 AM. HBO was live only five hours nightly. CNN and FNC hadn’t yet begun to blanket us with news 24/7.

Here are the first words ever spoken on ESPN:

JUNKIES REJOICE! - THE BIRTH OF ESPNSports Junkies Rejoice! - The Birth of ESPN is the fast paced, first person story of that incredible year of birth. You’ll be fascinated by this behind the scenes look at the people, the plans, the emotions and events that led to the launch of the world’s first around-the-clock all-sports network.

If you pride yourself on knowing everything there is to know about ESPN, you’ll need to own this book to cover all the bases. Do you know about the $9,000 credit card advance, the first advertiser on ESPN, or the cost of ESPN’s first transponder? Or how about - why Bristol? All that and more about the early days of the E.S.P. Network ... the very early days in Sports Junkies Rejoice! - The Birth of ESPN!

$  9.99  Sports Junkies Rejoice!  (Kindle - February 2011)  No Kindle needed
$14.95   Sports Junkies Rejoice!  (Paperback - May 2010)  
Buy Now $19.95  Sports Junkies Rejoice!  (Hardcover - new cover)
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Enthusiastic Praise and Reviews

Bill Rasmussen

“When Bill Rasmussen is around, there is electricity and drama in the air. You know he is special, and investors and customers know it too.”
Harlan Steinbaum, author

“Only Bill Rasmussen can take you back, back, back, back to the beginning of the greatest success story in the history of sports television. His ideas, his enthusiasm, his fierce determination and belief in success changed the way we all watch television and televised sports today.”
Chris Berman, ESPN

“You were a man ahead of your time! A Genius - God Bless!”
Dick Vitale, ESPN

“What we’re creating here is a network for sports junkies. This is not a network for the soft-core sports fans who like to watch the NFL and then switch to the news.”
Scott Rasmussen
Co-founder, ESPN

“What they (the Rasmussens) did was make sports and television history - nothing short of history.”
John Toner, Athletic Director, University of Connecticut
Past President, NCAA

Bill Rasmussen dramatically altered and elevated the world of sports. What he did changed the landscape of TV sports.
Sports Illustrated - Forty for the Ages
Fortieth Anniversary - 1994

The Father of Cable Sports.
USA Today - 1994

The enthusiasm of the sports world changed the day the Whalers fired Rasmussen in 1978.
Springfield (MA) Republican

Little did he know then, but Bill Rasmussen was about to do for sports television what Thomas Edison did for electricity.
Canton (OH) Repository


Thanks largely to ESPN, sports in this land today are wall to wall and floor to ceiling. Just about everyone running around wearing a number has a TV camera following him or her. Total immersion is possible: When some people say today they watch “the news,” they mean ESPN’s SportsCenter.
The New York Times - Changing the Century

Bill Rasmussen has done what every entrepreneur dreams: He found a need and filled it. Along the way, he also changed the way sports fans get their information.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

The most important day in the history of sports is August 16, 1978. That’s the day Bill and Scott Rasmussen, sweltering in a traffic jam on Interstate 84 near Waterbury, Connecticut, conceived what the E. S. P. Network (later shortened to ESPN) would do with a satellite available 24 hours a day.
The Detroit News

Inspiration doesn’t punch a clock. Sometimes it dawns during the depths of slumber, sometimes it rises with the steam of a shower, sometimes it is triggered by a smell or a sound. On this particular day, August 16, 1978, it is born of frustration while Bill and Scott Rasmussen sit sweltering in a Connecticut traffic jam. Traffic inches along. Heat, dust and noise unite in a sticky cacophony of misery. They don’t notice. What is taking place inside their car in this hellish venue, at this unlikely time, is the creation of the basic format that one day will make ESPN recognizable around the world.
The Hartford Courant

Besides his dream and fanatical passion for sports, Rasmussen’s legacy to the organization was his ability to scramble and make the impossible happen.
ESPN The Company
Anthony F. Smith

Bill Rasmussen gave sports junkies and couch potatoes a haven in which to indulge their obsessions. His creation fed the public’s growing appetite for sports. It legitimized the all-sports concept as a recipe for success in various markets and mediums, and it turned into a broadcasting giant, powerful enough to transform sports television, creatively and financially.
The Sports 100
Brad Herzog

Sports Junkies Rejoice! - Reviews

Bill Rasmussen leaves no doubt about who are the good guys, and who are the bad. The hectic race to get ready for the first program and the countdown excitement should grip any reader.
National Book Critics Circle

They’re fingerlings in a sea of oil and diversified corporate assets, but a fascinating story of father-son who plow the deep of conventional TV broadcast wisdom to spawn the idea of a 24-hour sports network.
The Tulsa World

A story of some tension and drama and insight. It’s a short book, told quickly and without punches pulled.
Springfield (MA) Republican

Bill Rasmussen’s Sports Junkies Rejoice is a Horatio Alger story in space-age America. It’s a fascinating diary of his journey through uncharted (television) waters.
The Hartford Courant

“Bill Rasmussen is truly the George Washington of ESPN. His accomplishments, however, transcend the boundaries of the sports arena into areas beyond our wildest dreams.”
Chris Berman, ESPN

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