ESPN founder gets some Attitude

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Rasmussen leads online net's push for serious ads

ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen is back in the network business. This time, though, it's online.

As an investor and newly named chairman of Naples, Fla.-based Attitude Network, Mr. Rasmussen hopes to make the Internet as legitimate an ad vehicle for package-goods marketers as a traditional mass medium.

"The chaos in the Internet now and cable then are similar," said Mr. Rasmussen. "You're going from broadcasting to narrowcasting."


A lifelong entrepreneur, Mr. Rasmussen oversaw the launch of ESPN in 1979 but left the following year. Since then he has worked for various TV sports ventures and IntelliNet, a home automation company where he remains vice chairman.

His first online challenge is the Attitude Network's first Web site, the games-oriented Happy Puppy, which Attitude bought last year.


Attitude claims Happy Puppy is the most-read Web games site, with 33,000 original users per day, according to an audit by Nielsen I/Pro I/Audit.

Attitude plans to integrate advertising next month at $30,000 per 1 million impressions.

Mr. Rasmussen, however, wants to appeal to package-goods advertisers that normally have little to do with games.


As with ESPN, major "franchise" advertisers will get long-term positioning rights well beyond the end of their current contracts.

Attitude said it is developing a half-hour syndicated weekly TV show that will be offered as a joint buy with the Web site.

Attitude is already in talks with Coca-Cola Co. Chuck Fruit, the company's VP-director of media and presence marketing, was Anheuser-Busch's top media executive when A-B did its landmark ad buy to help get ESPN started.

Copyright January 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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