Tag Archives: Anheuser_Busch

January 22, 1979 – News from Anheuser Busch

New York, New York – Back to Gene Petrillo’s office! “I’ve talked to my people at the brewery,” he opened, “and we’d like to buy a franchise position for a half-million dollars.”

Bob and I looked at each other. We assumed Gene would come back with a counter offer, but not one-fifth of what we were asking. Bob said, “We’ll have to think about that one. Can we get back to you in a few days?”

“Sure. Let’s talk when you’re ready.”

Bob and I left Gene’s office and by the time we hit the street, we had decided that we would say no to the $500,000 counter proposal. How about that? Our company was all but broke, but we were brash enough to say a half-million dollar offer isn’t good enough.

Even though the offer was low, we now had “action” in several necessary arenas to allow us to launch the concept:

Financing – Getty hadn’t closed us out;

Advertising – Budweiser hadn’t said no;

Content- the NCAA was definitely interested (at least extremely curious);

Technology – we were set to meet with RCA Americom to keep our spot on the “bird” (Satcom1) alive;

and Subscribers – cable system operators were beginning to warm to this innovative, crazy, smart, outlandish, clever, ridiculous (you decide which) concept of sports 24 hours a day / seven days a week,

Busy days ahead!

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January 15, 1979 – First meeting with Anheuser Busch (Budweiser) Agency

New York, New York – Rutgers – UConn was behind us, we were scheduled to meet RCA and the NCAA back-to-back on the 24th and 25th and then Bob Chamberlain added a new dimension tp our schedule when he announced he had set up an appointment with Gene Petrillo at D’Arcy, McManus. “Gene is the top agency man for Budweiser and he wants to hear our story.”

So 33 years ago today we told our story again – this time to our very first advertising contact. Think about that for a second! Without any studio, long-term financing, programming or subscribers, and only eight employees, we were about to sit down with the agency for the biggest sports advertiser in the world – Anheuser Busch. Wow!

Gene asked, “Do you have any proposal for me?” We had nothing in writing, but said we would have something for him the next day. Bob did tell him the general terms of our proposal: “We propose to sell 1/8 sponsorships for $2,760,000 which will give you billboards and 30 second spots throughout the day.” We chatted for a few more minutes and Gene said he would call us later in the week. We never did get the proposal in writing to him before he called us back and asked us to meet with him on Monday (January 22).

The scheduled meeting added to the general euphoria building in Plainville. We presumed (correctly, as it turned out) that he wouldn’t have asked us to meet again unless he had some sort of a proposal (he did, but that’s for next week).

January was proving to be a very productive month!!!!