ESPN 40th Anniversary

ESPN 40th Anniversary

Bill Rasmussen throws out the first pitch in Fenway Park at the Yankees and Red Sox game on Sunday, September 8, 2019

7:00 PM Saturday September 7, 2019 is the 40th anniversary of the day ESPN went live on 7:00 PM Saturday September 7, 2079.

This year, Bill enjoyed meeting with employees in the North Carolina offices, New York, Bristol, CT homefield and the LA group.

Here are some of the many articles, tweets and posts celebrating 40 years: (scroll down to Rasmussen)

ESPN 40th Anniversary
  • SportsCenter Special: ESPN’s 40, E:60 Game 1, Special Bottom Line, Rapper’s Delight Remix
  • Berman Counts Down Top 40 Sports Moments on SportsCenter Starting September 3
  • Online Ultimate SportsCenter Quiz, ESPN Archive Channel, Live Stream with Commentators & more

ESPN hit the airwaves September 7, 1979. To commemorate its 40th anniversary, SportsCenter Special: ESPN’s 40, a collection of 40 testimonials from ESPNers past and present, will be televised Friday, Sept. 6, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

The one-hour program will showcase personal stories that connect to the company’s 40-year journey. Interviewees include Chris Berman, George Bodenheimer, Linda Cohn, Bob Ley, Molly Qerim Rose, Bill Rasmussen, Robin Roberts and Stephen A. Smith.

Berman’s Top 40 Countdown
Chris Berman, an ESPN icon who joined a nascent network in September 1979, will count down the top 40 moments in sports since ESPN’s launch. Starting with the 7 a.m. SportsCenter on Tuesday, Sept. 3, Berman will share 10 moments per day across all episodes of the show, culminating with the top 10 moments on Friday, Sept. 6.

E:60 Game 1
Live sports have been a cornerstone of ESPN’s programming since its launch 40 years ago. The first live event – a professional slo-pitch softball game between the Kentucky Bourbons and the Milwaukee Schlitzes – aired the first night, September 7, 1979. This game has not been seen again since the video tapes that recorded that game are missing from the ESPN archives.

The game has been found! On Tuesday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m., E:60 Game 1 tells the story of ESPN’s forgotten telecast, and in the process unearths a moment of television history not seen since 1979.

Watch Trailer

ESPN40 Logo on Bottom Line 
For 40 consecutive hours, the ESPN40 logo will be featured on the Bottom Line across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS and ESPNU, starting at 8 a.m. September 6 until midnight on September 7.

Rapper’s Delight Remake
Queen Latifah and Snoop Dogg recorded an ESPN-specific version of Rapper’s Delight, featuring a variety of ESPN on-air commentators. The video will appear across ESPN platforms. The original song, sung by the Sugarhill Gang, debuted September 16, 1979, one week after ESPN’s launch.

Online and Social Elements
ESPN will provide fans engaging, interactive content across ESPN online and social platforms.

  • The “Ultimate SportsCenter Quiz” will launch Tuesday, Sept. 3, on and the ESPN App. Fans will have the opportunity to test their knowledge of the iconic brand and the memorable This is SportsCenter commercials.
  • The ESPN Archive channel will launch today on YouTube and will feature excerpts from debuts of classic ESPN shows and events including SportsCenter, First Take, College GameDay, Monday Night Football and WNBA. Memorable clips from the ESPN Vault will also be available. Fans will enjoy a comprehensive playlist of the This Is SportsCenter commercials.
  • ESPN commentators will celebrate the 40th anniversary and share anecdotes at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6, during a live 30-minute, interactive, stream on Twitter,, the ESPN App and Facebook.
  • More than 30 interviews and clips from ESPN’s 40 are offered on, the ESPN App and most connected devices
  • The ESPN40 logo will take over the @ESPN avatars on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram throughout the day of September 7.


This Is 40: ESPN Readies For Milestone With On-Air Celebration

By John Ourand
August 27, 2019
ESPN is readying an on-air celebration of its 40th anniversary with testimonials, lists and a Queen Latifah/Snoop Dogg remake of “Rapper’s Delight” with ESPN-centric lyrics. Chris Berman, who started with ESPN just days after the net went on air on Sept. 7, 1979, will count down the top 40 moments in sports since the net’s launch (10 per day), starting during the 7:00am ET “SportsCenter” on Sept. 3. ESPN2 will carry “SportsCenter Special: ESPN’s 40” on Sept. 6 at 7:00pm. The 60-minute show will have 40 testimonials from execs including George Bodenheimer and Bill Rasmussen and talent like Stephen A. Smith and Robin Roberts. On Sept. 10 at 7:00pm, “E:60” will feature video from the first game that aired on ESPN — a slo-pitch softball game between the Kentucky Bourbons and the Milwaukee Schlitzes. The most buzz will come from the remake of “Rapper’s Delight,” a song by the Sugarhill Gang that debuted Sept. 16, 1979. Videos with Queen Latifah and Snoop Dogg will include several ESPN personalities. Other ESPN40 programming plans include:
* The ESPN40 logo will be on the bottom scroll across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews and ESPNU for 40 consecutive hours — from 8:00am on Sept. 6 to midnight on Sept. 7.
* will host a “Ultimate SportsCenter Quiz” starting Sept. 3.
* ESPN will launch an ESPN Archive channel on YouTube with clips from various shows starting later today.