ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen’s New Book – ESPN: One Giant Leap for Fankind

A walk through sports history with the man who changed it, ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen, is now on sale with the publication of his new book, ESPN: One Giant Leap for Fankind (Headline Books), in collaboration with Donald T. Phillips.

ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen is the author of the new book, “ESPN One Giant Leap for Fankind.”

ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen on the new set of ESPN Sports Center in Bristol – July 2014 (courtesy of ESPN)

TAMPA, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES, September 7, 2023/ — A walk through sports history with the man who changed it, ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen, is now on sale with the publication of his new book, ESPN: One Giant Leap for Fankind (Headline Books), in collaboration with Donald T. Phillips.

The book is available at, Headline Books, and at bookstores around the country, as well as through Rasmussen’s website,

In his new book, Rasmussen shares his life story, the good times, and the challenges, compelling the reader to delve deeper into each story with the history and technology advancements underlying each milestone in sports history.

Rasmussen also shares his “Intentional Optimism” that he applies to living with Parkinson’s disease. This is his signature positive attitude and commitment to staying active, embracing engagement, and inspiring others, one person at a time.

ESPN: One Giant Leap for Fankind won the grand prize at the 2022 New England Book Festival, and Rasmussen was named the Independent Author of the Year. Rasmussen’s book also won awards in 2023 at the Southern California Book Festival, the Los Angeles Book Festival, the Beach Book Festival, the San Francisco Book Festival, and the New Your Book Festival.

In ESPN: One Giant Leap for FANkind, Rasmussen shares his philosophy on Intentional Optimism, as well as his motto, “Never Be Complacent – Always Be Curious!.” He takes us decade-by-decade from his birth in the 1930s through the first two decades of the 21st century, reflecting on his personal history along with milestones in world history and sports history. Rasmussen also reflects on the massive changes in technology over his 10 decades, including the role those changes played in his creation of ESPN.

A legendary entrepreneur, innovator, and disruptor as well as a life-long sports fan, Rasmussen is the founder of ESPN, the world’s first 24-hour, 7-days-a-week sports television network. His innovations in advertising, sports, and broadcasting are too numerous to list, but they include the creation of ESPN, the world’s first 24-hour, 7-days-a-week sports television network; the network’s signature program SportsCenter; wall-to-wall coverage of NCAA men’s and women’s regular-season and tournament college basketball coverage; and coverage of the College World Series.

Born out of adversity, his brainstorm, ESPN, has become the Worldwide Leader in Sports. Rasmussen founded ESPN in the summer of 1978. He 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. A former radio and television sportscaster, Rasmussen had been the Whalers Communications Director but when the Whalers didn’t make the 1978 WHA playoffs, most of the front office staff were fired, including Rasmussen.

The idea of an all-sports cable TV network captured his imagination, and he incorporated the fledgling network on July 14, 1978. He had already begun to seek out cable television companies, sponsors, investors, and partners. With an idea that was truly ahead of its time, and running out of cash, Rasmussen found one investor who believed in the concept in February 1979, and by September 7, 1979, ESPN was on the air for the first time, 14 months from Rasmussen’s moment of inspiration.

The entrepreneurial legend left ESPN in the early 1980s and has been involved with several high-profile ventures since, including serving as a consultant to the Big Ten Conference, and several of the conference’s individual member institutions, on television matters. He has also been a consultant with other startup media and internet companies. His Internet ventures include serving as Chairman of the Attitude Network, home of the successful Happy Puppy and Games Domain sites, as Chairman of SportsatHome, a sports-themed game site that offered an array of virtual sports stadiums and games to play online within each of the stadiums, and founder and CEO of College Fanz Sports Network, the world’s largest online college sports social network.

Rasmussen has been recognized by Sports Business Journal as a Champion, one of the “Pioneers and Innovators in Sports Business,” while Sports Illustrated honored him as one of their “Forty For the Ages” and USA Today called him “The Father of Cable Sports.” He was cited in The Sports 100, honoring the 100 most important people in American sports history. He has been elected to numerous sports, business, and television Halls of Fame, and received multiple business and academic awards.

Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Rasmussen is a veteran of the United States Air Force. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from DePauw University and an MBA from Rutgers University. During his career, he was a television sportscaster and a radio and television play-by-play announcer for baseball, football, basketball, and hockey. A frequent guest on television, radio, and podcasts, he is in demand as a speaker at corporate events and on campus. He is an Awareness Ambassador at the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and speaks about Intentional Optimism at American Parkinson Disease Association events across the country.

His collaborator with ESPN: One Giant Leap for FANkind, Donald T. Phillips, has collaborated on books with Mike Krzyzewski, Cal Ripken, Phil Mickelson, and George Bodenheimer. The author of Lincoln On Leadership grew up in the Washington, D.C. area.

Additional information on Rasmussen and his new book is available at

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Zoom Into Books interview with ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen

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