Jim McIngvale, the founder and owner of Gallery Furniture, is on the hook for more than $10 million after the Houston Astros won the 2017 World Series.
McIngvale, who also goes by “Mattress Mack,” began a promotion in June guaranteeing he would refund customers who spent more than $3,000 on mattresses and beds if the Astros won it all this season. As we saw on Wednesday night, that’s exactly what they did, taking a winner-take-all Game 7 from the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
Now it’s time for McIngvale to pay up. Though as he told ESPN’s Darren Rovell this week, he actually couldn’t be happier about that.
“I’m happy for this great city and for the Astros,” McIngvale told ESPN’s sports business reporter.
Those are genuine words. While McIngvale may be refunding over $10 million to customers, he says he’s actually coming out ahead because business was up while the promotion was going on. That, and he also wisely planned ahead. From ESPN:
McIngvale said he paid an insurance premium of between 10 and 20 percent of the total value of what he had to pay out. In order to balance his risk out more, he placed some bets in Las Vegas on the Astros. Those bets, he said, totaled north of $1 million on the Astros to win the World Series.
If this story sounds familiar, that’s because McIngvale has run similar promotions in the past. In fact, one of them centered around the Astros futility during their rebuilding years. In 2014, he refunded $4 million to his customers after predicting the Astros would lose 100 games. They lost only 92.
According to Rovell, he also refunded customers $8 million after the Broncos lost Super Bowl XLVIII to the Seahawks.
McIngvale isn’t afraid to roll the dice to promote his business. But we should also clearly state that he always puts the community before his business. That was evidenced when he opened his stores to Houston area residents displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Gallery Furniture provided food and shelter to thousands during that time.
He also surprised several fans, including a military family, with tickets to the World Series games at Minute Maid Park. Engaging the community and giving back have long been McIngvale’s highest priority. Now we just wonder what he’ll do next.
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