NBC Sports announced that Bob Costas will host NBC's broadcast coverage of the AMP Energy NHL Winter Classic between the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins, the first U.S. outdoor game in NHL history, on January 1, 2008 at 1 P.M. ET
ESPN, formerly an acronym for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, is an American cable television network dedicated to broadcasting and producing sports-related programming 24 hours a day. It was founded by Scott Rasmussen and his father, Bill Rasmussen, and launched on September 7, 1979 under the direction of Chet Simmons, who was the network's first President and CEO (and later became the United States Football League's first commissioner). George Bodenheimer is ESPN's current president, a position he has held since November 19, 1998; since March 3, 2003, he has been the head of ABC Sports as well, which has since been rebranded as ESPN on ABC (though ABC Sports still legally has a separate existence). ESPN's signature telecast, SportsCenter, debuted with the network and aired its 30,000th episode on February 11, 2007. ESPN broadcasts primarily out of its studios in Bristol, Connecticut; it also operates offices out of Charlotte, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The Los Angeles office opens in 2009. The network is available in over 100 million homes in the United States and over 150 countries and territories via ESPN International. The name of the sport company was lengthened to "ESPN Inc." in February 1985.
ESPN unofficially refers to itself as "The Worldwide Leader in Sports"; the slogan appears on nearly all company media, though its origin is unknown.
The roots of ESPN can be traced to Bill Rasmussen, a television sports reporter for WWLP, the NBC affiliate in Springfield, Massachusetts. In the mid-1970s, Rasmussen worked for the World Hockey Association's New England Whalers, selling commercial time for their broadcasts. His son Scott, a former high school goaltender, was the team's public-address announcer. Both were fired in 1977 and Rasmussen sought a new business venture.