The Houston Astros are heavy favorites to win the World Series, which begins on Friday, and one of the team’s most famous fans is riding in the outcome bettors are predicting for the “Fall Classic.”
The owner of the flamboyant Houston furniture store, Jim McIngvale, known as “Mattress Mack”, made a series of bets – $10 million in total – earlier this year on the Astros to win the World Series.
If the Astros regain their MLB crown — the team’s first title came in 2017 — McIngvale will earn $75 million, which has been widely reported to be the biggest payout in sports betting history.
“The excitement is very real in Houston. The whole city is on fire with the Astros,” McIngvale told reporters at a news conference, adding that he had “a strong appetite for risk.”
“When Yordan Álvarez hit the home run to beat the Seattle Mariners in Game 1 (of the American League Divisional Series), there were seven million people running around hugging each other.” the bet is big, but what’s more important is giving money back to our customers who purchased approximately $75 million worth of furniture,” McIngvale said.
In an interview with CNN last year, McIngvale said he bet $3.35 million in June 2021 that the Astros would win last year’s World Series.
McIngvale told CNN in October last year that he made huge bets to hedge a different sort of bet — customers who bought certain mattresses costing $3,000 or more will get their money back if the Astros win.
“It’s a hedge,” said McIngvale, who is well known in Houston for his advertisements and for his charitable work in the community, turning his stores into shelters to help those displaced by severe weather, such as the Hurricane Harvey.
At Thursday’s press conference, McIngvale said his first major bet came during the Houston Texans’ first season in the NFL in 2002.
Mack added that his “wife worries more than” him about the enormity of his bets.
As an avid Astros fan, supporting the team was an easy decision for McIngvale, but he views baseball’s impact as more important.
“Baseball brings joy to the city. The entire country is politically divided between Republicans and Democrats, but baseball brings us all together; all races, colors and creeds,” McIngvale said.
“And I say, thank you to the Houston Astros for bringing Houston together. I’ve been to every game and I can’t tell you how many people are there and that’s very important to them.
“It’s their birthday, it’s their birthday but they’re here to cheer on the Houston Astros. Anything we can do to make people’s lives better through this wonderful, magical game of baseball, we’re happy to do so.
Game 1 of the 2022 World Series begins Friday, October 28 at Minute Maid Park in Houston.