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Thirty years ago, TV sports coverage was produced as a sidebar unworthy of serious news time. Game highlights, such as they were, usually consisted of scores and brief recaps crammed into a few minutes between news and weather on your local television channel. That all changed when Bill Rasmussen, an unemployed sports announcer in 1979, and a group of committed sports junkies in Bristol, Connecticut, decided to lease unwanted satellite time to broadcast some local college sports and minor league hockey games. They called their organization the Entertainment & Sports Programming Network which we know today as ESPN, the most powerful and prominent name in sports media, with twenty-seven satellite dishes feeding more than 97 million subscribers. How did Connecticut become the center of the sports universe?
ESPN The Company tells the fascinating story of how ESPN managed to sustain its growth, innovation, and brand in a highly competitive and rapidly evolving marketplace. Based on over twenty years of consulting inside ESPN, Smith provides the reader with firsthand observations, experiences, and research, which reveals for the first time an inside look and feel for the type of organizational psychology and culture that exists at all levels of ESPN. The authors detail four distinct stages in the company's development that the company has gone through illuminating how ESPN's business decisions and accomplishments can be understood in the context of the company's evolution. We ultimately learn that at the heart of ESPN's success is one astoundingly simple principle: serve fans.
After each chapter, the authors share the lessons learned at ESPN about launching and growing a wildly successful enterpriseall the while enhancing economic and human value. The lessons are rich and applicable anywhere, and if you're a fan of business, competition, or sports, you'll enjoy reading and learning from this book.
"Any sports fanatic can appreciate what ESPN has done for sports viewing. ESPN: The Company provides keen insights into the business plan, leadership, and passion that dramatically changed the scope of sports television."
—T. Boone Pickens, legendary entrepreneur and 2008 National Football Foundation Distinguished American Award winner
"The enormous success of ESPN did not happen by chance. The story and lessons of the powerful vision, decision-making, leadership, and corporate culture are all captured in Dr. Smith's very compelling book. Truly a must-read!"
—Mike Krzyzewski, "Coach K," head basketball coach, Duke University and Gold Medal Winning United States Olympic Team, 2008, author of several bestselling books, including The Gold Standard: Building a World-Class Team
"ESPN The Company is a winner! It's a wildly entertaining book that teaches the fundamentals of the game better than any business book on the market. If you want to know how to build a successful franchise and how to keep loyal fans coming back day after day, you have to read this book."
—Jim Kouzes, award-winning coauthor of the bestselling book, The Leadership Challenge, The Dean's Executive Professor of Leadership, Santa Clara University
"This book is for anyone who ever wondered how ESPN created, nurtured, battled, and branded what has become the worldwide leader in sports. Dr. Smith, a leading expert himself, shares the secrets of ESPN's success and presents the game plan for how, as he says, 'to think like an incumbent, act like a challenger.' "
—Lesley Visser, award-winning sportscaster and the first and only woman enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame
"When Michael Eisner presciently called ESPN 'the crown jewel of ABC,' he may just as well have been referring to Dr. Anthony F. Smith. Amidst the multitudes of management consultants out there, Tony is one of the precious few able to cut through the clutter and platitudes to deliver smart, strategic, and practical advice about leadership and organizational performance."
—James M. Citrin, Senior Director, Spencer Stuart, author of several bestselling books, including The Dynamic Path
Here's the bottom line, it's not really a history of EPSN so much as a boasting of the company. The author, Anthony Smith, worked (at the time of this publishing) at ESPN and was... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mr. Orange
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This book explains the beginnings and wheeling and dealing behind a new idea for its time when it began.Interesting read for Sports fans and non-sports fans alike.Published 14 months ago by Paul K. Sink
As an avid reader of how businesses were built, this one really hits home as every one of us has experienced the ESPN brand and many of us have watched it's ascent from a single... Read morePublished 23 months ago by kurt sonderegger
This book was a nice read on the history of espn along with a series of business lessons. As a sports fan and an espn admirer I appreciated the info in this book. Read morePublished on July 20, 2011 by Brooklyn Joe
Smith took a company built on huge personalities and bored me to sleep. Not worth the time or money.Published on May 10, 2010 by Rodney Civis
Pick up "ESPN: The Company" and just begin reading it. If you are at all like me, you will find that you can't put it down. Read morePublished on October 27, 2009 by John Gates
Tony Smith is a treasure trove of expertise on leadership. Getting his sage observations bundled as a part of sports history is defintely a two-fer. Read morePublished on October 15, 2009 by Stuart Grauer
I enjoyed Taboos and while this book deals with a totally different subject, Tony Smith has brought his usual unique style to the story of ESPN. Read morePublished on October 14, 2009 by Howard J. Morgan