Last year, when everyone in Miami was guaranteeing that the star-studded Miami Heat would run rampant over the rest of the NBA, the Whiskey Tango All American Bar & Grill in Hollywood, FL, announced it would pay out $25 credits to every customer in bar on any night the team lost. And in spite of the fact that the Heat managed to 24 regular season games, the bar managed to make enough off the deal to bring it back again for the upcoming strike-shortened season.
“I said if they didn’t win the championship, we’ll do it again,” owner John Todora told CNBC. “I didn’t think they were going to lose.”
(But they did lose. Ha ha.)
He says the promotion resulted in $97,754 in retail costs (an actual cost of around $30,000 to the bar) last year, but that was money well spent, given all the heat (pun intended) it generated for the bar.
“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.”
Beyond that, Todora says the average person at the bar spent around $30 on the nights when the Heat played, around 36% more than the average check on a non-game night. So the extra money from those nights helped to defray the costs of the nights when he only netted $5/check.
Of course, this model fails miserably if the team has a losing season. So don’t expect to see a similar deal being offered by bars in Cleveland, or involving the L.A. Clippers.