Ford dealership loses Super Bowl bet, pays out $300,000 to customers

Dottye Wolf of Rolla, Mo., won $25,000 of the total $300,000 payout.
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How does that saying about casinos go again -- the house always wins? In the case of a Missouri Ford dealership, the house bet on the Super Bowl, and lost, to the tune of $300,000.

Remember the Seattle Seahawks returning the opening kickoff of the second half of the Super Bowl for a touchdown? Hutcheson Ford in St. James, Mo., certainly won't forget.

The dealership's first Super Weekend Sale promotion promised that if a customer bought a car between Jan. 29 and Feb. 1, and the opening kickoff of the first or second half of Super Bowl XLVIII resulted in a touchdown, Hutcheson Ford would refund the vehicle's purchase price.

What was the chance of that happening? Hutcheson Ford pegged it at 2.5 percent.

As a result of Seattle speedster Percy Harvin's 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, the 12 customers who qualified received refunds ranging from $10,000 to $55,000 on Saturday, for a combined $300,000.

Fortunately for Hutcheson Ford, the dealership took out insurance on the promotion, so it won't lose the entire $300,000. The dealership declined to disclose how much money it lost, saying only "it wasn't nothing."

"At least we're not like that furniture guy that lost $7 million," Hutcheson Ford Marketing Manager Kathleen Frazier said. "We think it was a big success."

All 12 customers were invited to the dealership for a party and group photo and were given their refunds.

Despite losing the bet, Hutcheson Ford plans to make the Super Weekend Sale an annual event.

"We wanted to do something that we could do on an annual basis," Frazier said. "While it may not be the same circumstances, we'll have the Super Weekend sale again next year."

You can reach Sean Gagnier at sgagnier@crain.com.


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