Los Angeles, California – My detour through Los Angeles on my way to Kansas City had me sitting in Stuart Evey’s 18th floor office at 9:00AM. The first thing Evey did was introduce me to Wendell Niles, “A movie producer here in Hollywood.” Niles admitted he didn’t know much of anything about cable television. I didn’t quite get the reason he was there, but nevertheless, plunged in with my, by now, well rehearsed pitch.
For thirty minutes or so I recounted what had transpired since June and concluded by asking for $10 million. Not only did I ask, but I also pointed out that we needed an answer by December 31st. I wasn’t immediately dismissed and Evey said it would take longer than that to analyze the potential of our idea, but he, “…was interested in learning more about the idea.”
A major breakthrough!!! No previous potential investor had shown even this faint flicker of interest. Little did I know as I left for LAX that Evey had more than “a faint flicker of interest.” Unknown to me, almost before I reached the ground floor and walked off the elevator, he was on the phone to his financial manager, George Conner, and…
I’ll let George tell you: “My involvement (in ESPN) began about one minute after Bill left Evey’s office. Evey called and said he had an investment opportunity for me to look at. After I read through the proposal for non-stop sports on cable television, I told Evey the proposal looked interesting enough for us to proceed with further evaluation”
I didn’t know until years later, but all of this happened very quickly while I was on my way to LAX to head for my original destination on this trip – the NCAA TV Committee meeting in Kansas City scheduled for tomorrow. Even without the knowledge of Evey’s obvious interest, I was very positive in my “Here’s what happened” phone call to JB Doherty back in King of Prussia, PA.
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