ESPN History

Today in ESPN History: 1978

Athletes in Action vs. UConn exhibition game Nov. 17, 1978

ESPN’s founder Bill Rasmussen and his staff of six worked to sell the idea of a 24-hour sports cable network to anyone who would listen and they needed a demo event to help draw the picture for potential investors and cable operators.

He found a willing partner at the University of Connecticut.  John Toner, then athletic director and president of the NCAA, offered a scenario that included a basketball game and a soccer match.

The E.S.P. Network had its demo event and on Friday night, Nov. 17, 1978, sent the UConn vs. Athletes in Action basketball game to any cable system capable of receiving a signal from RCA Satcom 1.

The next morning, the E.S.P. Network featured a UConn-hosted ECAC soccer playoff game.

Read more in this excerpt from Bill’s Blog.

Check out “A Conversation With Bill Rasmussen” on ESPN Front Row’s YouTube channel.

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