When John Todora announced last season that he’d be offering every customer who came in to watch Miami Heat games at his bar a $25 bill credit if the team lost that night, many people thought he was crazy.
And they certainly thought he had made the wrong decision when the Heat lost 6 of 7 games in a stretch from Feb 24 to March 8.
But, as he promised, Todora is offering the promotion at his Whiskey Tango All American Bar & Grill in Hollywood, Fla., for a second year, after the Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals last year.
“I said if they didn’t win the championship, we’ll do it again,” Todora told CNBC on Wednesday. “I didn’t think they were going to lose.”
Todora doesn’t have any insurance on his promotion, but he does admit, the math adds up enough for him to bring it back another year.
Last year, the promotion cost the bar $97,754 in retail costs, Todora said. The real value of how much the bar lost on the Heat losing 24 regular season games and three playoff games (the promotion wasn’t on during the Finals) is closer to $30,000.
Todora writes that off as a well-spent marketing cost. There are over 50,000 hits on Google that reference the promotion from last year.
“It’s great business for us,” Todora said. “Our marketing philosophy is that we want to be the loudest kid in the room. It’s no secret that Florida is a very fair weather state in terms of their rooting interest of their teams. When the Heat weren’t playing well, bars around us were complaining about lack of business. But we retained our customers.”
Not only did Todora say he saw repeat customers come back to watch Heat games, he said that out-of-towners who had come in for convention business came to Whiskey Tango for a game, mentioning the national press the bar had received.
The average customer spends $22 on a check, but Todora said last year’s Heat crowd spent $30, meaning that he’s still making $5 off a customer after their rebate. Many of those customers are people who wouldn’t have come had it not been for the promotion.
To be eligible for the $25 rebate, customers have to arrive at the bar 30 minutes before tip-off and sign up. If the Heat lose, the customer gets a $25 gift card, which can be immediately used on that night's bill.
The Heat are projected to win about 48 games, which due to the shortened season, would mean they would have 18 losses on the regular season.
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