Founder of ESPN Speaks at APU

by Nina Karim ’11

Recently, Azusa Pacific University associate athletics director Gary Pine and the School of Business and Management worked together to bring Bill Rasmussen, founder of ESPN, to campus on Friday, November 13. He spoke to more than 100 interested students and guests about his career, successes, and how ESPN has arrived where it is today.

ESPN aired for the first time on September 7, 1979. Through some impressive initiative, uncontainable passion, entrepreneurial courage, and plenty of good luck, the first 24-hour sports television network was born. For many sports fans, ESPN’s impact has forever altered the way people watch television. Rasmussen was the man with the dream that cultivated this phenomenon.

Rasmussen told the listeners his story, starting from the mere origins of his first thoughts on creating a sports station more than 30 years ago. With an incredibly humble demeanor and an admirable honesty and straightforwardness, he shared the process of purchasing TV time, finding sports teams to cover, and the different world of pricing that existed in that day.

“He was a wonderful example of an entrepreneur! He dreamed big and didn’t take no for an answer,” said Melissa Dornbush, junior business administration major.

ESPN’s new website College Fanz was also on campus to cover APU’s home football game Saturday night with a booth selling merchandise to support the College Fanz scholarship fund.

Senior international business major, Josh Millage, called the entire weekend experience with Rasmussen “simply mind-blowing.”