ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen's Created Another Crowd Pleaser at College Fanz

Jim DeLorenzoContributor IMarch 16, 2009

“Everybody pays attention to the NCAA Division I tournament but the excitement of March Madness doesn’t stop there,” said Joe Lunardi, the resident bracketologist for ESPN and the guru who invented Bracketology. 


“The great thing about the College Fanz Perfect 10 is that it includes all 10 of the great championship tournaments in the NCAA and the NAIA, and gives all of the competing schools, their fans and their alumni the respect and attention they have earned.  This contest is a real bracket-buster.”


There’s still time to be perfect in the College Fanz™ Perfect 10, with the final two brackets in the world’s biggest college basketball bracket event giving fans a chance to win $25 million by selecting two perfect brackets in the ultimate March Madness contest.


With the field of 65 officially announced last night in the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, and with tonight's announcement of the field for the NCAA Division I women’s hoops tourney, the final brackets in the College Fanz Perfect 10 contest are live.


Already a real crowd pleaser, College Fanz Perfect 10 has given thousands of fans the first March Madness bracket contest that includes men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in NCAA Divisions I, II and III, and also NAIA Divisions I and II. 


Many of those tournaments are already well underway, making the next few days a crucial, final chance for fans to enter the contest.


“Fans still have time to be perfect by choosing their brackets in both NCAA Division I hoops tournaments,” said Bill Rasmussen, the founder of ESPN and founding partner of College Fanz Sports Network


“With a $25 million grand prize on the line for selecting two perfect brackets in NCAA Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, as well as the other great prizes for winners in the other post-season tourney bracket contests, we have launched what thousands of fans consider the ultimate March Madness event.”


Registration is free.  Participants need only register once to compete in the remaining brackets.  Full details and rules are available at


Rasmussen and his team launched College Fanz Sports Network 28 years to the day after launching his most famous earlier creation, ESPN.  On Sept. 7, 2007, College Fanz Sports Network went live, and has become the world’s largest on-line college sports community, with students, alumni, and other fans of college sports. 


College Fanz boasts over 22,000 web pages devoted to every team at the more than 1,450 colleges and universities throughout the United States competing in over 225,000 NCAA and NAIA athletic events. 


Fans can post videos, photographs, and comment on their favorite teams and schools, participate in contests, and communicate with other fans in a compelling and ever-growing social network.


Rasmussen’s latest innovation, College Fanz, is changing the way college sports news and information is delivered to fans worldwide, just as his earlier creation, ESPN, changed the way people watched television. 


Rasmussen founded “The Worldwide Leader in Sports” in 1979.  He has been called “The Father of Cable Sports” by USA Today (September 1994).  


Rasmussen’s entrepreneurial daring led to the world’s first 24-hour cable television network, ESPN, where he pioneered such innovations as “SportsCenter,”wall-to-wall coverage of NCAA regular season and “March Madness” basketball, and NFL draft coverage. He broke the advertising barrier to cable television by signing Anheuser-Busch to the largest cable TV advertising contract ever.


Rasmussen has served as a consultant to the Big Ten Conference, and several of the conference’s individual member institutions, on television matters.  He has also been a consultant with numerous other startup media and Internet companies. 


His Internet ventures include serving as Chairman of the Attitude Network, home of the highly successful Happy Puppy and Games Domain sites; and as Chairman of SportsatHome, a sports-themed game site that offered an array of virtual sports stadiums and games to play online within each of the stadiums.


After an earlier successful entrepreneurial venture in the advertising business, Rasmussen’s career in the media began at WTTT radio in Amherst, Mass., in 1962.  In 1965, he moved to WWLP-TV, Springfield, where he spent eight years as Sports Director and two years as News Director. 


During these years, he handled numerous football, basketball, baseball and hockey play-by-play assignments on both radio and television. 


In 1974, he left Springfield to join hockey’s New England Whalers as Communications Director.  At the conclusion of the 1977-78 World Hockey Association season, Rasmussen was fired by the Whalers.


Thus began the pursuit of the ESPN dream, incorporating the fledgling network on July 14, 1978.  Fourteen months later, at 7 p.m. on September 7, 1979, Rasmussen’s dream, ESPN, became reality.


Rasmussen is active in numerous charity events, including nine years with the highly-acclaimed Winged Foot Scholarship Program, and five years with a Senior PGA Tour event, and is a frequent participant in celebrity charity golf events throughout the country.


Among his honors and awards, Rasmussen was named to Rutgers University’s Wall of Fame in 2002, and in 2001 received the prestigious Order of Achievement from Lambda Chi Alpha.  In 1997 he was inducted into the Connecticut Sports Museum and Hall of Fame


Rasmussen was named to The Sports 100, honoring the 100 most important people in American Sports History. 


His place in sports history was recognized by Sports Illustrated in 1994 when he was honored as one of the “Forty for the Ages,” one of 40 individuals who has significantly altered and elevated the world of sport during the second half of the 20th century.


Rasmussen was honored by the city of Enfield, Conn., with a day in his honor on Oct. 9, 2008.   He has been a popular guest on the speaking circuit relating his entrepreneurial adventures (including the founding of ESPN) at Bay Path College, Princeton University, the University of Florida, and other college campuses. 


He is a frequent guest on business and sports radio talk shows to discuss his entrepreneurial career.  Rasmussen is also the author of the popular book, “Sports Junkies Rejoice!  The Birth of ESPN.”


A United States Air Force veteran, Rasmussen received his bachelor’s degree in Economics from DePauw University (Greencastle, Ind.) and his MBA from Rutgers University.