It was June 2014. I was checking my phone literally about a hundred times a day to see if we would secure a title sponsor and still have a team the following year.
To see if we would keep a hundred jobs.
That’s part of it, though. Waiting for phone calls, waiting for emails. Waiting. Like waiting for the girl in middle school I had a crush on to call me back.
But this time I was waiting for a call from Netflix. We had put together a plan to kick off its European-branding campaign in a way nothing else could. We were in talks to announce a naming-rights sponsorship of our top-level cycling team just before the start of the Tour de France, the world’s largest annual sporting event.
Each July, 12 million people watch the Tour in person from the roadside, and the three-week race gets 3.5 billion TV views worldwide. Team Netflix would have been front and center for hours each day in no fewer than 190 countries.
I’d pulled every lever I could to make it work on our end, and the sponsorship fit their target market perfectly. We even got Robin Wright to put in a good word for us (thanks again, Robin!) and made our case empirically and emotionally.