Auburn Family

ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen Speaks to Auburn University

Imagine the world without ESPN. For many, it is impossible. Yet 32 years ago, one man’s vision became a reality, and that entrepreneur, ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen, will be speaking on Auburn University’s campus Sept. 27.

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Rasmussen will be in Auburn, Ala. for three days meeting President Jay Gouge, having dinner with students, interviewing with the local news and speaking to the student body in the Student Center in a 7:30 p.m. presentation.

University Program Council, better known as UPC, is a student led programming board. This organization is responsible for organizing events on campus that concern the Auburn students. UPC booked Rasmussen knowing the student body would be interested in this speaker because ESPN is such a big part of Auburn.

Jessica Howard, UPC director of speakers and comedians, works with her committee to bring speakers and comedians to Auburn’s campus throughout the year.

“We try to stick to entertainment for students by students,” said Howard.

ESPN started by Rasmussen and his son with $10,000. By 1979 ESPN became the first 24-hour network and has only grown since. Rasmussen will talk about how the idea of ESPN began. He was initially inspired when fired as Whalers’ communications director in 1978 when they did not make the WHA playoffs.

His idea for an all-sports cable TV network captured his imagination, and the network began on July 14, 1978.

Rasmussen revealed the inside story of the birth of ESPN in his book, “Sports Junkies Rejoice! The Birth of ESPN.” This book will be sold at the speaking engagement and there will be a meet and greet afterward to sign books and connect with the Auburn students.

Auburn University will be one of the first stops on his tour. Upcoming bookings already include stops in Philadelphia, Wichita and Kansas City in the fall.

“Bill Rasmussen is very excited to come to Auburn since we have made so many ESPN headlines in the past year,” said Howard. “He is interested in meeting the students one-on-one and touring Auburn’s beautiful campus.”

The 650 tickets for the presentation will be sold in the Student Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until the event and at the door. This event is free and must have a Tiger Card present in order to receive a ticket. To find more UPC events go to

To learn more about Rasmussen go to

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Tags: Auburn, ESPN, Katematthews, UPC


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