After North Carolina looked like they might run away with the men’s basketball NCAA title in the first half, Kansas roared back and made it a thrilling finish. In the end, Kansas completed the largest comeback in NCAA championship game history, winning 72-69. Ochai Agbaji was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament.
While millions of people tuned in to the game, one viewer was probably sweating a bit more than others.
That’s right, Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale made another big bet on the NCAA Tournament. On Thursday night, before the Final Four started, he took a helicopter flight to beat traffic and make his moves — placing two bets totaling about $5.56 million on Kansas to win at +190. During the game, he added another $3.3 million bet. In total, he bet $8.86 million to win $12.1 million.
The reason McIngvale chose Kansas? It’s the closest school geographically to Texas. Once the Houston Cougars lost in the Elite Eight, Mack had to audible to an adjacent school.
McIngvale also had a $1 million bet that the NCAA championship would come out of the East region. Had UNC won, Mack would have earned $2.6 million, so he would have recouped some of the loss from his Kansas bets.
On most nights, winning a shade over $12 million would be cause for celebration. But McIngvale would have been better off financially if North Carolina had held onto its lead.
These bets are all a part of McIngvale’s promotional strategy. If customers of his Gallery Furniture store purchased at least $3,000 worth of American-made furniture or Tempur-Pedic, Stearns & Foster, or Sealy mattresses before tip-off, they’ll be refunded now that Kansas won.
By Saturday night, McIngvale reported he had sold $10 million worth of furniture. He estimated that number would reach between $12 million and $14 million by the time the game started. Thanks to the Jayhawks’ win, McIngvale will likely suffer a loss of nearly $2 million.
He’ll gladly take the trade, though — the word-of-mouth from happy customers is well worth it.
And it’s nice to see McIngvale on the right side of the ledger. He previously made unsuccessful bets on the World Series, the College Football Playoff Championship Game, and the Super Bowl.
Now that another NCAA Tournament is in the books, who do you think McIngvale will bet on next?