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Taco Bell + The Math Professor = Lots Of Free Tacos

Taco Bell
AP
Taco Bell

In last night's game, Tampa Bays shortstop Jason Bartlett stole a base and the Taco Bell promotion that I've analyzed on this blog was put into action.

As you might recall, Taco Bell told me last year that it gave away millions of free tacos as part of its "Steal A Base, Steal A Taco" promotion.

I did some math and couldn't believe the numbers. Giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming each person that came to redeem it only got one, I couldn't even reach 1 million free tacos. Two in every three readers agreed with me, but that didn't include Dr. Jim Lackritz, a statistics professor at San Diego State who started up the school's sports MBA program.

Lackritz quotes Taco Bell's web site that says that the brand serves "more than two billion consumers each year in more than 5,800 restaurants in the U.S."

Lackritz says that means they serve 38.46 million consumers per week. Even if Taco Bell is exaggerating its numbers, Lackwitz says that they are serving in between 10 and 20 million people per week, and therefore 5.5 million people per day.

Lackritz assumes that half the people come in for either lunch or dinner during the time the promotion occurs (between 2 and 6 pm.) Lackritz then says that if half of those people (2.75 million people) come in for their free taco, then it's over 1 million.

I respect Lackritz' math. He decided to figure it out from the Taco Bell customers standpoint instead of the random population, which I did.

He also pointed out to me that Taco Bell could just give away a free taco to everyone that shows up between 2 and 6 p.m. that day--it's not like you have to show anything. So if the 2.75 million number is right, they could reach that. That's enough Taco math for now.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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