Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale is wading into the sports media industry, and is likely to use that platform to later launch a sports wagering content property.
The furniture magnate, who’s become popular among sportsbook operators because of his penchant for big wagers that often lose, is rolling out gallerysports.com, which is named after his Gallery Furniture chain — Houston’s largest furniture retailer. Mattress Mack’s media property will cover Texas and Louisiana sports. Not surprisingly, the site will be aimed at driving customers to Gallery Furniture’s three Houston-area stores and its website.
At least three former Houston Chronicle journalists are among the Gallery Sports contributors. McIngvale told the newspaper that the site will later be joined by Gallery Gaming, which will focus on sports betting. Like its forefather, the objective of the sports wagering property will be to direct customers to Gallery Furniture.
Content on Gallery Sports is free, indicating the site is taking a different approach than an array of established, web-based sports media properties. Popular content on the site includes coverage of yesterday’s Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans games, Houston Astros updates, and college football articles on the Houston Cougars and LSU Tigers.
How Gallery Gaming Could Play Out
In the interview with the Chronicle, McIngvale didn’t mention if there will be subscription plans for Gallery Gaming. Most dedicated sports betting content sites offer a limited amount of free content with the aim being to entice readers to eventually pay for picks.
With the luxury of using the site as a sports-related marketing tool, McIngvale doesn’t have to face the subscription burden and the often fickle customer base that comes along with it.
There are, however, a couple of certainties that could accompany Gallery Gaming. First, it’s possible the site will be well-received in Louisiana, where sports wagering is live and legal. Among states of comparable size, Louisiana is a sports wagering leader, and its already high bar will be cleared this year because the state gets the benefit of entire seasons of LSU and the NFL’s New Orleans Saints.
On the other hand, Texas is a more frustrating proposition. Owing to its status as the second-largest state by population, Texas is definitely alluring for sportsbook operators and team owners alike. But, while some politicians, including Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX), are on board with regulated sports betting, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R-TX) isn’t. That’s meaningful because he’s the president of the state senate and holds considerable power in state politics.
Mattress Mack’s Big Bets
There’s no denying McIngvale’s proclivity for big bets. Proficiency is another matter. His wagers, all of which are essentially marketing promotions to drive traffic to his stores, include a combined $9.5 million on the Cincinnati Bengals to win last season’s Super Bowl, $2 million on the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl, and $1 million on the Houston Cougars to win the NCAA men’s basketball title in 2021. All those bets lost.
His current promotion is refunding mattress sales — on select brands — of $3,000 or more if the Houston Astros win the 2022 World Series. That’s tied to a $2 million bet on the team to take home baseball’s championship.
That bet could be a winner for McIngvale, because the Astros have the best record in the American League, and short odds of winning it all. On the other hand, that means he’ll be giving away a lot of nice mattresses for free.
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