Sunday, April 7, 2013
End of the March Madness
As Wichita State fell short of a major upset victory over Louisville at the NCAA Final Four Saturday in Atlanta, I heard the cheers of Cardinals fans overjoyed that their team is a step closer to its first national championship in 27 years.
I also thought I heard a big sigh of relief from Coca Cola. If the Shockers had won, it would have cost the company more than three million dollars.
Like millions of other people, I was part of the Enjoy More Madness game, where you enter a bottle cap code at a special website. It assigns you a team, and you root for it all the way to the NCAA men's basketball championship. Naturally, I got several very low seeds, like Florida Gulf Coast and Harvard. Surprisingly, they paid off. So did Cal, LaSalle and Wichita State.
Up to the Final Four, I did pretty well: eight bottles of Coke Zero, $20 in music tracks (enough to get all of Taylor Swift's new album), a $20 gift card from Live Nation, and a $100 gift card from Best Buy. Usually, I don't get this lucky. The biggest prize I get in these contests is a free Big Mac.
With Wichita State's incredible run, peaking at its win over Ohio State, I dared to dream that I'd get a free round trip airline ticket if they beat Louisville.
It would have happened if the Shockers hadn't committed five turnovers late in the game. The Cards' full-court press also made the difference, although some blame the referees.
If the Shockers had won, more than 8100 people, including me, would have gotten free airline tickets worth 400 dollars. That's more than three point two million dollars, or a lot of Coke Zero. A lot of executives at Coca Cola must have rooted for Louisville that night.
Now, there's 23 people left who could get the grand prize of 100 thousand dollars or a free trip to next year's Final Four in Dallas. If Louisville wins, it's the cash. If Michigan wins, Coke will have to choose from 22 people who will get to go to Dallas. They have only nine trips to go around. If it comes to that, what about those who aren't chosen? I expect them to e-mail Coca Cola, demanding their prizes. They'll be told they should have read the rules, and maybe one or two will say "what rules?"
So, let's go Louisville! Win that NCAA title and give the Enjoy More Madness game a simple ending.
Of course, they're also giving away a car. With the odds being about 1 in 250 thousand, I'm not even thinking about that.