ESPN, which stood for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, was founded as an American cable TV network dedicated to sports 24 hours a day, by Scott Rasmussen and his father Bill Rasmussen. It launched on September 7, 1979. Its signature telecast, SportsCenter, debuted with the network and aired its 25,000th episode on August 25, 2002. ESPN broadcasts primarily out of its studios in Bristol, Connecticut and is available in over 77 million homes in the U.S. The name of the company was shortened to "ESPN Inc." in February 1985.
In 2003, the Office of Foreign Assets Control reported that ESPN engaged in illegal trade with Cuba and had to settle with the United States government for US$40,000http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/04/14/enemy.trading/index.html.
ESPN started as an alternative to the short sports segments in standard television news broadcasts and the information found in "Sports" sections of newspapers. ESPN started out fairly small and often had to broadcast unorthodox sporting events, such as tractor pulls and the short-lived United States Football League (USFL), to attract viewers. In 1987, ESPN landed a contract to show National Football League games on Sunday evenings, an event which marked as a turning point in turning ESPN from a smaller cable TV network to a marketing empire and a cornerstone to the rabid "sports culture" it largely helped to create.
ESPN launched a sister network, ESPN2, on October 1, 1993, currently available in more than 65 million homes across America. ESPNEWS was launched on November 1, 1996, providing 24 hour-a-day highlights, scores, and news from the sports world. ESPN Classic was launched on October 9, 1997 as the Classic Sports Network (ESPN purchased it later), and airs documentaries and replays some of the greatest games in sports history. A Spanish language network, ESPN Deportes, was launched on January 7, 2004. In September ESPN announced that ESPNU will be launched in March 2005 and will feature college athletics.
ESPN also launched the ESPN Radio network on January 1, 1992, ESPN The Magazine on March 11, 1998, and its ESPN Zone franchise of restaurant/entertainment complexes in Baltimore, Maryland on July 11, 1998.
The ESPY Awards are also administered by ESPN, which it initiated in 1993.
The entire family of ESPN networks and franchises is owned by ABC (the American Broadcasting Company), which is a part of The Walt Disney Company.
Sega bought licenses from ESPN to integrate the "TV show look & feel" for its franchise of video games covering America's major professional sports leagues and College Basketball.
ESPN Original Entertainment programs
Personalities (past & present)
- ESPN: http://www.espn.com
- ESPN Video Games: http://www.espnvideogames.com
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