American Pharaoh may have been the first horse in 37 years to win a Triple Crown this weekend, but was the real winner of the Belmont Stakes Burger King's mascot? According to the Courier-Journal, the chain managed to convince American Pharaoh's trainer Bob Baffert to let its bearded mascot (with a permanent creepy grin) — simply known as The King — hangout in his box for the race on Saturday. The King's appearance on camera with Baffert apparently netted the chain $136,000 in exposure.
This was no coincidence however: The chain apparently ponied up (pun intended) $200,000 — part of which will serve as a donation to the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund — for the appearance. Sports Illustrated writes that Burger King offered Baffert $150,000 for a similar appearance at the Preakness but Baffert shot it down. Only after Burger King agreed to donate money to charity did Baffert oblige.
Paying huge sums of money to get its recently re-introduced mascot at major sporting events appears to be Burger King's new favorite advertising technique. The chain reportedly paid $1 million to have The King be a part of controversial boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s entourage before his big fight against Manny Pacquiao last month. Nice to see that the chain is putting all that money it saved by relocating to Canada to good use.