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ESPN (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). Getty Oil Company provided the funding to begin the new venture. 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 New York City; Seattle, Washington; Charlotte, North Carolina and Los Angeles, California; the Los Angeles office is scheduled to open at L.A. Live in 2009. The name of the sport company was lengthened to "ESPN Inc." in February 1985.

ESPN markets itself as "The Worldwide Leader in Sports," a slogan that appears on nearly all company media but whose origin is unknown.

Most programming on ESPN and its affiliated networks is composed of live or tape-delayed sets of events and sports-related news programming (such as SportsCenter) with the remainder filled by sports-related talk shows (such as Around the Horn, Jim Rome is Burning, Outside the Lines, and PTI) and sports-related documentaries and films.

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