It was a promo designed to never deliver: the St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association) offered to pay $10,000 to a randomly selected Twitter user if a #1 seed lost in the first round of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament. Then UMBC defeated Virginia.
The offer was pretty simple, and also pretty safe, considering a #1 seed had never lost in the first round of the tourney. But when University of Maryland, Baltimore County triumphed over the University of Virginia, what had been a cute Twitter promo generated a five-figure payout:
We don’t have a billion dollars like @WarrenBuffett, but our GM @DerekSharrer has officially gone mad. The Saints will give away $10,000 if a 16 seed beats a 1 seed in #MarchMadness2018. All you have to do is retweet this to enter & we’ll choose one winner if it happens.
— St. Paul Saints (@StPaulSaints) March 12, 2018
Lo and behold: UMBC won in one of the biggest upsets in NCAA history. And besides blowing up brackets around the world, it ended up costing the Saints $10,000.
“Someone on our staff, who shall remain nameless, brought this idea to me and said it was a foolproof promotion,” said Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Derek Sharrer in a press statement. “Now, thanks to this former staff member, I mean, this creative genius, we are going to make someone’s day by giving them $10,000. We’re all about family affordable fun with the Saints and the winner will be able to bring a lot of families to CHS Field this season.”
The Saints are going to indeed give away the money in a live drawing of the $10,000 winner, selected from more than 10,000 people who retweeted the Saints tweet promoting the contest. The drawing will take place live on Tuesday, March 20 at 1 p.m. central time via Facebook Live on the Saints Facebook page at facebook.com/stpaulsaints and via Periscope on the Saints Twitter account at @stpaulsaints.