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History of ESPN

  • How it Started

    How it Started
    In mid-1978, faced with unemployment after being fired from his job as Communications Director for the New England Whalers (now Carolina Hurricanes), Bill Rasmussen and his son, Scott Rasmussen, founded ESPN. Entrepreneurial daring, irrepressible enthusiasm and a dash of good luck gave America its first 24-hour sports network in 1979. Once unleashed upon sports fans, ESPN’s impact forever changed the way we watch television.
  • Period: to

    HIstory of ESPN

  • First Broadcast

    First Broadcast
  • Debut of ESPN's First "Sports Update"

    Debut of ESPN's First "Sports Update"
    On July 15, 1985, ESPN started airing the "ESPN Sports Update" a condensed run-down of scores and news that aired at 28 and 58 minutes past the hour, when SportsCenter was not airing
  • NFL Deal

    NFL Deal
    ESPN awarded NFL's first cable contract; begins fall '87.
  • MLB Deal

    MLB Deal
    ESPN and Major League Baseball reach a four-year agreement to begin in 1990.
  • ESPN Radio

    ESPN Radio
  • ESPN International

    ESPN International
    In the early 1990s, ESPN established a new division, ESPN International, to take advantage of the growing satellite markets in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. ESPN would also purchase a minority stake in a consortium formed to acquire the Canadian sports networks TSN and RDS from Labatt (due to Canadian regulatory laws, Labatt could not be the majority owner of the networks after its purchase by Interbrew . After Bell Media (then Bell Globemedia) acquired a majority stake in the networks in 200
  • SportsZone

    ESPNET SportsZone (now launches.
  • Big Deal!

    Big Deal!
    ESPN reaches agreement for multimedia NBA coverage, becoming the first network to televise all four major professional sports-NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA.
  • ESPN Classic

    ESPN Classic
    In 2004, ESPN entered the European market by launching a version of ESPN Classic, and then by acquiring the North American Sports Network (which was re-launched as ESPN America in February 2009). In August 2009, ESPN also launched a domestic channel for the United Kingdom and Ireland after acquiring domestic rights to 46 Barclays Premier League matches for the forthcoming season, and 23 matches each for the following three seasons. The deal replaced a previous contract with Setanta Sports GB, wh
  • Monday Night Football

    Monday Night Football ESPN Acquires Monday Night Football for eight years, beginning in 2006.
  • The Big 12

    The Big 12
    ESPN announces eight-year, multi-platform agreement with the Big 12.