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Eddy Einhorn is a basketball visionary

Owner of the Chicago White Sox, Eddie Einhorn, addresses the audience at the Victor Awards on July 10, 2004 in Las Vegas, Nev.
Photo by Bryan Haraway/Getty Images

In my 80 plus years I have had the opportunity to work with and befriend many bright men. However, I cannot count on both of my hands, the ones I considered Visionaries.

Here are three: Dr. Jonas Salk who developed the vaccine that eliminated Polio in the United States. Bob Block, my mentor as well as the older brother I never had taught me much. Bob has over 250 Inventions to his credit that has made all of our lives a great deal easier. Bob is the father of over-the-air pay television and was one of the Cellular Industry’s true pioneers.

Than there’s Eddy Einhorn. Currently, he is plying his wares as Vice Chairman of the Chicago White Sox. Together, in the 60s and the 70s, especially when he headed up CBS sports, we worked on many productions and events. It is his vision that brings the 2014 NCAA Basketball Championships to TV after a long hard road and many obstacles he overcame.

All three of these men have three things in common. They are humble, self-effacing and have let their achievements speak for them.

Eddy toiled for years trying to get any network to put Basketball on the air to no avail. As a result, he founded The first championship Eddy televised was in 1961. It matched Ohio State against Cincinnati. He paid the NCAA $6000 for the rights. He syndicated it on TVS. Unfortunately, only a few stations in Ohio and Kentucky showed the game.

In 1968, the “Game of the Century” between UCLA and Houston was syndicated by TVS Television Network. The game not only attracted a significant Television audience, but also the live audience at the Houston Astrodome, (soon to be demolished), at the time set the spectator record with over 50,000 attending in the seats.

This game has been widely cited as the catalyst for the expansion and explosion for televising College Basketball.

Imagine, how far we have come? In 2010, CBS and Turner Sports reached an $11 Billion, ($10.8), agreement for the rights from the NCAA over 14 years. Just think, in doing this, the NCAA opted out of the final three years of an 11 year, $6 Billion Dollar contract.

The $11 Billion deal is just for all the Tournament Televised Games… $771 million a year. In addition, the NCAA will get additional monies from all new electronic media and other digital rights. This will push the final earnings well over $11 million dollars.

In the Basketball Hall of Fame located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the great names of the game have been enshrined. Bob Cousy, Oscar Robertson, Lew Alcindor and John Wooden are among them. In 2011, a man who never dribbled a ball, made a basket, coached a team, won a championship or played on a Collegiate All-Star Team, joined them.

Eddie Einhorn is the man who received that well deserved honor in 2011. Many of the records of the others have long since been eclipsed. Eddie’s contribution just continues to grow.

When he got out of Northwestern Law School he stuck firm to his belief in the future of Televising an NCAA Basketball Championship. In presenting him at the Hall’s Inauguration, Hall-of- Fame Sports Announcer Dick Enberg stated it succinctly, “Plain and Simple. Eddy was ahead of his time”.

I have not seen Eddy in years, but I know that I shall join millions in front of TV Sets across the country enjoying all the action. I’ll root and I’ll cheer. Sometimes, I might even yell at a bad call. But all the time I will be heard to say, “Thanks Eddy Einhorn”.

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