Bill Rasmussen Biography, Age, Family, Wife, Son, ESPN, Net Worth

Bill Rasmussen Biography

Bill Rasmussen (William F. Rasmussen) is an American former Sports Director, and one of the founders of ESPN, along with Scott Rasmussen and Ed Egan.

He served as the first president and CEO of ESPN. ESPN was founded on July 14, 1978, and was launched on September 7, 1979.

Bill Rasmussen Education

Bill attended Gage Park High School. He received a scholarship to attend DePauw University in Indiana, and that was where he met his future wife Mickey.

After college, Rasmussen was a supply officer in the US Air Force. He played baseball (as third baseman) with the hopes of going pro. Parts he procured for the Air Force were used in F-86 and F-89 fighter jets, as well as on Mercury space capsules. Rasmussen then attended Rutgers University to get his MBA.

Bill Rasmussen Age

Rasmussen was born in 1932 in Chicago, Illinois, United States (he is 87 years old as of 2019). However, the exact date and month he was born is not known hence it it not known when he celebrates his birthday.

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Bill Rasmussen Wife

Bill is married to Mickey whom he met while at DePauw University in Indiana. The couple has a son named Scott Rasmussen.

Bill Rasmussen Son

Rasmussen has a son, Scott Rasmussen, born in 1956 who is a political analyst and digital media entrepreneur. He is the publisher of, a public opinion website that debuted in 2018 with research firm HarrisX and produces the Daily Tracking Poll.

Bill Rasmussen Net Worth

Rasmussen, who is a businessman and entrepreneur has an estimated net worth of $600 million dollars.

Bill Rasmussen Career

Bill Rasmussen’s career in the media began with WTTT in Amherst, MA, in 1963. He moved to WHYN-TV in 1965, and then to WWLP-TV, both in Springfield, MA, where he spent eight years as Sports Director and two years as News Director.

In 1974, Rasmussen left Springfield to join hockey’s New England Whalers as Communications Director. At the conclusion of the 1977-78 World Hockey Association season, he was fired by the Whalers. Thus began the pursuit of ESPN, incorporating the fledgling network on July 14, 1978.

Bill Rasmussen ESPN

ESPN, originally called Entertainment and Sports Programming, was incorporated on July 14, 1978. It began broadcasting fourteen months later, at 7 p.m. on September 7, 1979.

ESPN wound up being headquartered in Bristol, Connecticut. Bill Rasmussen paid $18,000 for the first acre of ESPN’s campus.

Moving On

Getty Oil purchased 85% of ESPN and left 15% of the enterprise to be split.

By July 18, 1979, before launch, the investors decided to remove Bill from power. His salary and responsibilities were cut.

Just before the launch of ESPN, according to the book Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN Stuart Evey claimed “I made Rasmussen Chairman, but in no way did I want to give him any responsibility!” “Having Rasmussen play a significant role was just not part of the deal.”

Bill Rasmussen, the one who had the idea for ESPN, stepped back from day-to-day business, having less contact with ESPN until mid 1999. He and ESPN “made amends” in 1999 when then-president George Bodenheimer reached out to the founder for the network’s 20th anniversary.

On September 30, 1980, ESPN officials announced that Bill Rasmussen was leaving the company by agreement.

The Sale

In 1984, The New York Times reported, ABC purchased controlling interest in ESPN by buying out Getty Oil’s position. At the time of the Getty Oil buy out, ABC in turn bought out the Bill Rasmussen Families 15% for $6,000,000.

Bill Rasmussen had to split the $6,000,000 with numerous other investors and funders such as his brother Don Rasmussen, with Bill Rasmussen ending up with an estimated $1.2 million and a little over $740,000 after taxes.

In October 2005, George Bodenheimer, then president of ESPN, recognized Rasmussen and dedicated a plaque and flag pole in Rasmussen’s honor.

Bill Rasmussen After ESPN

Family Business

In January 1981, Scott Rasmussen, the son of Bill Rasmussen founded the all sports radio network Enterprise Radio Network, and was shuttered by September 1981. The network broadcast sports reports twice an hour and did live phone in sports talk from 6 pm to 8 am Eastern Time seven days a week.

The project failed, with employees not getting paid all wages they were due. Bill Rasmussen was sued by the labor department along with his son Scott for allegedly violating the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

Other Business

Bill Rasmussen became involved in plans to build a 12,000-seat golf stadium in Naples, Florida. The project was rife with corruption, with the Naples Daily News describing it as the “biggest public corruption scandal in local history”.

He became a subject of the criminal investigations surrounding the project and pled guilty to two misdemeanor cases of fraud in a plea deal that reduced the charges against him in exchange for his cooperation in the corruption case against the public officials.

Honors and awards

  • A United States Air Force veteran, Rasmussen received his bachelor’s degree in Economics from DePauw University (Greencastle, Indiana) and his MBA from Rutgers University.
  • CynopsisMedia – Sports Hall Of Fame

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