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America’s most famous furniture salesman is known for his outrageous multi-million dollar bets on sporting events. Now Jim McIngvale is launching Gallerysports.com to sell more furniture.
MMack is bet now on the media profession.
Jim McIngvalethe 71-year-old Houston furniture entrepreneur and renowned player affectionately known as “Mattress Mack”, has launches sports news site this He promises to be “your one-stop-shop for everything in Texas and Louisiana sports”. McIngvale says he’s interested in publishing great journalism, but as at the heart of everything he does, he hopes Gallery Sports will help sell mattresses in its Gallery Furniture stores.
“I’m a promoter,” McIngvale says. “I’ve had a lot of crazy, crazy ideas, and a lot of them will fail, but a few will be a home run.”
Mack doesn’t sell ads yet, but he says if the site posts quality content and gets enough traffic, it will. “We expect to make money selling ads eventually,” he says, “but it will be a long six months to a year.”
McIngvale, owner of the three-store Gallery Furniture chain in Texas, made bets that make the headlines for decades. But his bets, including a $9.5 million bet on the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI in February – are hedges against its big sales promotions. During the Super Bowl, he offered customers who bought a $3,000 mattress or recliner before kickoff a full refund if the Bengals won. Cincinnati lost, taking its multi-million dollar bet. But all was not bad; he sold $20 million worth of furniture.
He may be an all-American peddler, but the economics behind McIngvale’s astronomical bets are sound. Mack’s promotions and sports betting helped him grow his business, which he started with his wife, Linda, in 1981. In 2019, Gallery generated $164 million in revenue, and by the end of 2021 , sales increased approximately 40% to more than $230 million.
With a few dozen contract employees working for Gallery Sports, including former Houston Chronicle sports writers, McIngvale says he invested $500,000 in his new media venture.
Eventually, McIngvale will launch a second site, Gallery Gaming, focused on his other passion, sports gaming. The site will publish odds, analysis and, of course, stories about its bets. He won’t sell picks like some sports betting scammers. “I don’t believe in selling choice; it puts people in bad positions,” he says. The sites will cover Texas and Louisiana sports, but he hopes to expand to national and global coverage. “We will walk before we run,” he said. “But we will probably do a lot of things on big events, like the World Cup and that sort of thing.”
In the past 15 years, McIngvale’s biggest bet was for the Houston Astros to win the 2019 World Series. He put a total of $17 million into his hometown team and lost when the Astros were defeated by the Washington Nationals. But the most painful loss came in last year’s World Series when McIngvale bet a $2 million future bet on the Astros at odds of 18 to 1. He would have pocketed $36 million if the Atlanta Braves had not defeated Houston.
This year, McIngvale is “quite invested” in the Astros again. Never the understatement because he made several bets totaling $10 million for Houston to win the World Series. If the Astros win the Fall Classic, Mack will take home $75 million. Of course, Gallery Furniture organizes another promotion related to its monumental bet. (If a customer spends $3,000 or more on a mattress and the Astros win the World Series, they get a full refund.) McIngvale says Gallery has sold $50 million worth of mattresses so far and the World Series are nearly two months ahead.
With the NFL kicking off this week, Mack is also ready for the football season, but he’s waiting for a good promotion before making a big bet. In the meantime, he’ll support the Houston Texans because “I’m a homer,” he says, “that’s who I am.” But he also likes the appearance of the Green Bay Packers this season.
While the impetus behind the sports website is to “sell more furniture”, McIngvale admits he has bigger goals. At a time when trust in the media has waned and become hyper partisan, Mack thinks his site could help bring people together.
“I bet on the fact that I know people love sports, and one of the things I love is that sports are the great unifiers,” McIngvale said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re right, left, middle, whatever, everyone unites. It’s a good thing for our current divisive times.