Sports TV Pioneer Chet Simmons Dead at 81

Mar 26, 2010  •  Post A Comment

Chester R. "Chet" Simmons, who was a pioneer in broadcast sports before becoming ESPN’s president when it launched in 1979, died Thursday in Atlanta, ESPN reports.

He was 81.

Simmons started in the business in 1957 at ABC Sports-precursor Sports Programs, Inc. While at ABC Sports, he helped developed the signature program “Wide World of Sports.”

He was later the president of NBC Sports before going to ESPN.


  1. A lot of young people reading this have no idea how much this man’s impact is on the sports we watch today.
    RIP Chet…you were the best !!!
    FYI-Check out ESPN’s 30 for 30 about the USFL. You can see in the interviews with Chet that even he though it would have made it given time. They just could not wait and expanded to fast.

  2. Agree, he changed the sports tv world.
    But can’t help but think he went to the USFL with the end game goal of getting acquired by the NFL for a big payday.
    Didn’t quite work out

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