The Seattle Seahawks' 23-0 win over the New York Giants made just about everybody in Washington state happy, but one car dealership in the state will have to fork over almost half a million dollars as a result of the game's unlikely outcome. The road shutout was the fifth the Seahawks have put up in the last 30 years, and the first regular-season goose egg at home for the Giants since 1995. Given the odds, it seemed reasonable for Jet Chevrolet, located south of Seattle in Federal Way, to put together a promotion that would net $35,000 for 12 different people.
"This is crazy," said Jim Johnson, one of the dealership's owners, via ESPN. "We never expected that we'd actually be giving away the money."
The dealership took out an insurance policy on the $420,000 giveaway, which cost Johnson and his partners approximately $7,000. Johnson said that the company originally wanted to have a drawing before last Sunday's Seahawks game against the San Francisco 49ers, but the legal and financial constraints could not be resolved in time. Seattle lost that game, 19-17.
Johnson and his partners had to open the drawing, which ran from Wednesday to Saturday, to everybody who entered, whether they bought a car from the dealership or not. Those who bought a car received 100 entries, and those who didn't had just one chance. Twenty people bought cars during the promotion, and 12 people entered without a purchase. The 12 lucky winners will be determined with a drawing on Monday.
Johnson said Sunday night that he's now looking for guidance from the insurance company regarding how to disperse the cash prizes to the winners.
"We're a car dealership, we're not used to doing something like this." According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, this isn't the first time a company has been on the hook for a prize giveaway after an NFL shutout. In 2006, the World Furniture Mann in Plano, Ill., covered about $300,000 in customer purchases as a promise after the Chicago Bears beat the Green Bay Packers, 26-0, in the season opener. And in 1999, the Kansas City Chiefs' 34-0 shutout of the San Diego Chargers resulted in electronics dealer BrandsMart giving away about $425,000 in merchandise.