To a handful of colleagues here I’m a “newbie”. I joined ESPN in 1980 through a temp agency, the Kelly Girls (you might not even find that on google). I was told to report to something called E.S.P.N. at 935 Middle St. and ask for J.C. Penny. Little of that made sense to me. It’s a long story for another day, but I’m glad I answered the call.
What started as a temp assignment turned into a career for which I had never planned nor imagined. As the company grew and new technologies presented themselves, as did opportunities. I’ve had the extreme good fortune to work with talented, dedicated people and bring to fruition a number of initiatives over the years that served to enhance the delivery of information to the media and to our viewers.
I’m proud to serve as Vice-President for the Plainville Community Food Pantry’s Board of Directors.
“The Extreme Games is what would happen if Pearl Jam ran the Olympics.” – Mark Wolf, Rocky Mountain News, 1996
On this date in 1994, ESPN and ESPN2 announced the creation of the Extreme Games. Originally planned and presented as a week-long competition among the best extreme sports athletes in the world, the event was to be held each non-Olympic summer. Renamed X Games in 1996, it now is conducted yearly and has expanded to include both Winter and Summer competitions as part of the six-event Global X Games series. continue reading…
Bob Jenkins and Larry Nuber called many races for ESPN in the 1980s. (ESPN)
On Nov. 8, 1981, ESPN televised its first live NASCAR race. Mike Joy and Larry Nuber called the action for the Atlanta Journal 500 from the Atlanta International Raceway.
Among those competing for the $239,910 purse were Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison, who were engaged in a close battle for the NASCAR Winston Cup title in the penultimate race of the season. Neil Bonnett won the memorable race and Waltrip went on to win his first NASCAR Winston Cup championship.
On this same date in 1987, ESPN televised its first ever National Football League regular-season game when the then Super Bowl champion New York Giants hosted the New England Patriots.
Weekly guest analysts were featured during the 1987-88 season. Larry Csonka, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame that summer, joined Roy Firestone and Mike Patrick in the booth for this match-up.
ESPN employed the use of a “Super Slo-Mo” camera and replay machine for its regular season NFL telecasts, one of 10 cameras used for NFL coverage; we now use 30 and employ multiple “Super Slo-Mo” cameras.
Roy Firestone, Mike Patrick and guest analyst Larry Csonka are pictured in the booth at Giants Stadium. (Jim Turner/ESPN)
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.
This video is the fourth in a series of the conversation we captured last spring with ESPN’s founder Bill Rasmussen and two other ESPN pioneers, Chuck Pagano and Bill Lamb. So far in this series they’ve talked about the inception of ESPN, securing satellites and raising funds. The first 3 segments can be viewed here.
I suppose that since we’re sports fans at our core we like to have things to cheer about and celebrating our milestones give us that outlet. We had a good one this week with our 32nd Anniversary on the 7th and that was just the beginning of a great week. We also announced our new NFL deal. (We’ll be offering more studio shows and Monday Night Football will have a home on ESPN through 2021!) Also, our analysts made their NFL picks and we gave you a peek at some of the skills needed for the fitness combine that some of our employees went through. More coverage on that will come next week.
If you’re interested to learn about our history check out the videos posted so far of the conversation captured last spring between ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen and two other ESPN pioneers. They took time out of their schedules to share their stories about the very early days of ESPN.
Next week we have another anniversary of sorts to commemorate and we’ll unveil our new weekend twitter recap; bring you to CSU – Creative Services University and we’ll lift the curtain on the Da Da Da, Da Da Da guy!
This third in a series of the conversation we captured last spring with ESPN’s founder Bill Rasmussen and two other ESPN pioneers, Chuck Pagano and Bill Lamb covers the Eureka Day! The first 2 segments can be viewed here. We’ll post more throughout next week with a link to where the entire collection can be viewed.
This is the second in a series of the conversation we captured last spring when ESPN’s founder Bill Rasmussen, Chuck Pagano and Bill Lamb took time to share their stories about the very early days of ESPN. The first segment can be viewed here.
Last year when ESPN turned 31 our founder Bill Rasmussen and members of his family came to Bristol for a ceremony during which the flagpole in the middle of our campus was dedicated to him.
Throughout that day, the old stories were flying and someone said “we should be taping these conversations” and so we did.
Bill returned to Bristol earlier this spring and we recruited Chuck Pagano, EVP & Chief Technology Officer and Bill Lamb, Vice-President, Transmission, two of the handful of folks who were here in September of 1979, to join him and share their stories.
That conversation is broken into more than 20 short segments with the 2nd half featuring six employees who weren’t yet born when ESPN went on the air 32 years ago. We’ll introduce them when those segments come up.
With today being our 32nd Anniversary we thought it an opportune time to share with you the stories we captured.
I learned a lot in this first foray into the production area. Note to self: Hire a set designer next time!
Although Hurricane Irene is bearing down on the East coast many events are still happening this weekend, just at different times. As you’d imagine, the situation with program updates will be very fluid through Sunday night at the least. We’ll work to post or direct you to all of the latest confirmed information as it’s received.
For the latest on Little League World Series schedule please check out their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ESPNLLWS
During tonight’s NASCAR race on ABC, should your local affiliate break away to local news they will instruct you on where you can see the race.
Update: Thanks to Tara Chozet for posting this link to the updated program schedule. http://es.pn/nVTj6u
ESPN’s 6th annual Multicultural fair is taking place on our Bristol campus today. The fair features a diverse selection of cultural foods and entertainment including live music and games. Booths are manned by members of our ERG’s (Employee Resource Groups) who are distributing educational information about their respective group along with food, drink and give-aways. Our own Tommy Smyth volunteered for the dunk booth. With the temperature in the 80′s today he might just be the smartest guy on campus.