Eddie Einhorn, a minority owner of the Chicago White Sox who helped put college basketball on television in the 1960s and set the stage for the wall-to-wall coverage that exists today, died Feb. 23 in Alpine, N.J. He was 80.
Scott Reifert, senior vice president of communications for the White Sox, announced the death. The cause was complications from a stroke.
Mr. Einhorn was the founder and chairman of TVS Television Network, which broadcast the “Game of the Century” between the Houston Cougars and the UCLA Bruins from the Astrodome in 1968.
The game, in which Houston ended UCLA’s 47-game winning streak, was widely credited for the growth in the popularity of college basketball on television. Mr. Einhorn was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011 for his work.
Mr. Einhorn, a law school friend of Jerry Reinsdorf, the principal owner of the White Sox and the NBA’s Chicago Bulls, spent the past 25 years as vice chairman of the White Sox. He was the team’s president and chief operating officer from 1981 to 1990.
He also was a member of the Bulls’ board of directors.
Edward Martin Einhorn was born Jan. 3, 1936, in Paterson, N.J. He was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Northwestern University School of Law.
He worked as a vendor at the old Comiskey Park while attending law school and joined a group with Reinsdorf to buy the White Sox in 1981.
While still in law school, Mr. Einhorn founded a radio network and produced a broadcast of the 1958 national title game between Kentucky and Seattle that was syndicated across the country. With TVS, he secured the television rights to several conferences, starting with the SEC in 1965.
But his big breakthrough came in 1968 with his marketing of the game between Lew Alcindor’s Bruins and the Elvin Hayes-led Cougars, a showdown of undefeated teams and household names. The broadcast showed the potential for college basketball on TV, and advertisers and networks started lining up to get a piece of the action.
Mr. Einhorn sold TVS in 1973 for $5 million, but he remained in the sports-television business long after. He served as the television consultant for the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1989, held a similar role for the U.S. Figure Skating Association, was executive producer of “CBS Sports Spectacular” and helped negotiate Major League Baseball’s first billion-dollar TV contract. He also developed the National Youth Baseball Championship, which is broadcast on the MLB Network.
Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Ann Einhorn, and two children.
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