Sports and betting often go hand in hand, but when it comes to major competitions like the World Series, wagers frequently involve food and booze. Heading into the MLB playoffs this season, there’s a special kind of wager happening in Chicago, where the Toronto-based fast-casual chain Freshii is promising to waive the franchising fee for a new restaurant if the Chicago Cubs win the World Series, as ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported.
Based on past performance, the likelihood of this happening is slim: the Cubs last won a World Series in 1908. Freshii, which currently has nearly 300 franchises across North America, operates 31 in the Chicago area with more on the way, and has seen steady growth in the last few years, as Crain’s Chicago Business reports.
If the Cubs do happen to win, the franchise will fuel the growth of Freshii’s desired expansion to the Wrigleyville area, and the lucky franchisee will reportedly help the company select the location.
"We thought this would be a great way to get into a neighborhood we'd like to have a presence in," Freshii spokeswoman Nikki Nardick told Crain’s. "This seemed like a great way to reach an audience that are either die-hard Cubs fans or they're entrepreneurial and interested in getting involved in things in nontraditional ways."
The deal only covers the fee for franchising a new restaurant. The franchisee would still be in charge of covering the cost of the buildout and equipment.
Major League Baseball has seen a rich history of food bets. In 2013, the World Series matchup between Boston and St. Louis stirred the states’ governors to action: Missouri’s Jay Nixon wagered cream soda, chocolates, and pastries on the outcome of the series, while Massachusetts’ Deval Patrick bet seltzer from Polar Beverages, clam chowder, and baked goods. Then, in 2014, there were plenty surrounding the matchup between the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals, with items like sourdough bread, Dungeness crab, and Philz coffee on the table.
These bets even go beyond baseball. In 2014, President Barack Obama and Canada’s prime minister Stephen Harper bet each other a case of beer each on the Olympic hockey games between the countries.
• Freshii giving away franchise if Cubs win it all [Crain’s Chicago Business]
• World Series Food Bets; Jonny Raglin Departs Comstock [ESF]