Fans of the Houston Astros may have been sweating a little when their team went down 0-2 to the Washington Nationals in the World Series. But no one more than one particular fan, “Mattress Mack” – otherwise known as Houston-area businessman Jim McIngvale.
McIngvale, who owns Gallery Furniture in Houston, has been putting down so much money on the Astros to win the Series that he doesn’t even know how many millions of dollars he has riding on the Series.
“There’s so many numbers flying around, I’ve lost track,” McIngvale said, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Prior to Game Three on Friday, he was in New Jersey, putting another $300,000 on the Astros to win the World Series at +210 at one sportsbook and put down $100,000 at another. Should the team go on to win the championship, those bets will earn $840,000. He also put down money on Game Three, $500,000 at one book (at -140) and $150,000 at another (at -152). The victory earned him $456,142.86.
Based on the bets he remembers, he has about $12 million wagered on the outcome of the World Series to win around $19 million.
If you do not live in the Houston area or don’t follow baseball too closely, then chances are McIngvale sounds like an older man (he’s 68) with a gambling problem. But he is a smart businessman making the most of his local baseball team’s success.
McIngvale has been running a promotion at his store based on the Astros winning the World Series. If they win, he will refund every mattress purchase of $3,000 or more. Should the Astros emerge victorious, McIngvale estimates he’ll be handing out about $20 million in refunds.
Heading into the Series, he was said to have around $10 million wagered on the outcome. But after the team lost Game One, he flew out to Biloxi to put down another $1.6 million on the Astros to win, $1 million at DraftKings, and $600,000 at the Scarlet Pearl.
While he is a fan, in the end, it is all about sales.
“Let’s face it, I’ve got $20 million in free publicity from this deal, at least,” he said via the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I was on ‘Fox & Friends’ the other day for 4½ minutes. How do you put a price on that and the hundreds of articles across the country?”
He went on to say that October and September are typically slow in the furniture business, but for him, they have been some of his busiest months.
It is hard to argue about the value of the publicity he has been getting, but it still sounds a little crazy. It’s one thing to run the promotion, but then to put even more money on the line with all the bets is madness. Right?
Actually—it is par for the course with McIngvale.
He’s run this promotion several times over the years. When the Astros won the World Series in 2017, it cost him about $13 million in refunds. However, he recouped about 95 percent of that through a series of bets.
Then there was the 2016 presidential election, when he ran a similar promotion based on which party won the election. Trump’s win cost him around $10 million. Had Hillary Clinton won, it would have cost him about $13 million.
Thankfully for Mattress Mack, the Astros have dug themselves out of their 0-2 hole to even the World Series heading into Game Five on Sunday night. The first pitch is scheduled for 8:07 pm ET.
This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.
Last modified: October 27, 2019 18:30 UTC