50/50 raffles a bonanza for Phillies, Flyers charities
The Philadelphia Union cashed in, too.
The raffles may be called 50/50s , but several local big-league clubs seem 100 percent in favor.
The Phillies, Flyers and Union introduced the fund-raisers this year and made quite an impressive haul for their charities.
In just 16 weekend games at the end of the season that just concluded, the Phillies split more than a half-million dollars with the 16 winning fans.
"It was amazing," said Michele Michele DeVicaris, the club's manager of community and charity events. "The fans were so generous and completely took to the whole program."
Basically, fans could buy three tickets for $5, seven for $10 or 15 for $20, with the total evenly divided between Phillies Charities and one lucky fan, who has the winning number announced at the end of the seventh inning. Thus the name 50/50.
The highest amount collected by one fan was $36,650, won on Sept. 22, Fan Appreciation Day, the last home game of the season.
On average, each winner got $17,000, and so did Phillies Charities.
Now imagine that multiplied over an 81-game schedule. The charities' programs would be enriched by more than $1.3 million, and so would the fans.
"A decision hasn’t been made yet," DeVicaris said about next season, "but I think we are very pleased with the success of the weekends."
The Philadelphia Union's soccer season still has two games left, and the club has tallied $168,055 to divide evenly with fans (including two who have yet to come forward).
Tonight, the Flyers play their first home game of the new season, but already the 50/50 program is well underway.
Last season, the Flyers sold more than $1.2 million worth of 50/50 raffle tickets.
"The 50/50 is one of the most exciting events that occurs during a Philadelphia Flyers game," according to Comcast Spectacor spokesman Ike Richman. "Throughout the game fans can watch on the scoreboard as the pot continues to climb. What a great way to support numerous nonprofit organizations throughout the greater Philadelphia region."
And that was just in 25 games, since 50-50s weren't enabled under Pennsylvania until the end of 2012.
Extend the rate over a full 41 home games and the haul would approach $2 million to split with fans.
"Comcast-Spectacor president Peter Luukko had the idea to bring the 50/50 raffle to the states after seeing how successful it continued to be in Canada," Richman said.
Luukko led a lobbying effort for 50/50 legislation in Pennsylvania, according to Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal.
The Sixers have yet to announce, but do hope to follow suit this season, according to spokesman Michael Preston.
The Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers and minor-league franchises of other sports will have to wait for state legislation to extend the raffle right to them.
The NFL already permits the practice, including by the Arizona Cardinals and the Detroit Lions.
Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or email@example.com.