Chris Berman, ESPN Anchor, entertained in his unique way the THINK 12 audience and took them through the history of ESPN and discussed audiences to take your credit unions to the next level and beyond, and what you can expect along the way.

ESPN was conceived by Bill and Scott Rasmussen with support from Ed Egan. Rasmussen’s original idea was to create a cable television network that focused on covering all sporting events in the Connecticut rather than just one team as Egan proposed. They began to seek out support from cable operators and potential investors for the sports channel. The present representatives were skeptical of the concept and stated it would be impractical and too costly to take a crazy risk. Over time, they learned they could use technology to broadcast to all 50 states, which was less expensive than sending the signal across Connecticut via landlines. On September 7, 1979 the 24-hour sports network premiered and the first live game broadcast was not a major sports – it was a slow-pitch softball game, featuring the Kentucky Bourbons vs. the Milwaukee Schlitz – sponsored by Budweiser.

Chris Berman urged credit unions to dream big and act realistically. ESPN had the vision of being the worldwide leader in sport but they had to struggle skunk attacks in their studio that was basically a garage to become what they are today. The executives asked their employees to reach for the sky. You might get burned once in a while, take your hand back for a minute, regroup and reach for the sky again. As long as the ceiling doesn’t hit you, keep going.

Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. While you have to keep one eye on the day-to-day tasks, the other eye has to look to the future.