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College Football

Ohio State’s win in CFP title game will cost furniture store chain $1.5 million


More than 500 Ohio State Buckeyes fans are not only celebrating their favorite college football team’s 42-20 victory over the Oregon Ducks in Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship Game, they are also reveling in the windfall of some free furniture to boot.

A promotion run by 15 Ashley Furniture HomeStore and Better Sleep Shops in Ohio and Kentucky will reward any customer who purchased more than $1,999 in merchandise between the dates of Dec. 17-30 at any of their stores by picking up the tab. The caveat was that Ohio State had to defeat both the Alabama Crimson Tide in its College Football Playoff semifinal game as well as top Oregon in Monday’s title game by at least seven points.

Of course, Buckeyes satisfied both conditions and now 500-plus customers get to enjoy their new furniture on the company’s tab.

“It’s been a great promotion,” said Rob Klaben, vice president of marketing and advertising at Ashley’s parent company, Dayton-based Morris Home Furnishings. “Our customers were very excited the day after New Year’s. We had some people wanting to claim their rebate, not realizing the Buckeyes had to win two games.”

Klaben said he was inspired to pull off the promotion after hearing about how a Houston-area furniture store ran a similar promotion related to Super Bowl XLVIII last February, despite the fact that promotion cost the store nearly $6 million, although insurance covered the losses.

All told, Ohio State’s big win will cost the company approximately $1.5 million. And much like similar promotions of this nature that have been run in the past, Morris Home Furnishings wisely took out an insurance policy.

“We did work with a third-party company that underwrote the promotion,” Klaben told ABC News. “So we’re excited to see a win.”

While the customers are thrilled with the free furniture and the company is overjoyed about the publicity, one entity that was unhappy with the promotion was Ohio State University, who issued a statement last week denouncing it.

“We consider promotions such as this to be unfair competition, with elements that play off the good will and reputation of the university in lieu of any formal sponsorship or affiliation,” the university declared, per the New York Daily News. “We have contacted the company and demanded that they cease and desist using references to Ohio State, either direct or implied.”

The promotion never specifically mentioned either Ohio State University or the Buckeyes, instead using the generic term, “Ohio’s Team.” Still, Klaben said the company was never notified of Ohio State’s complaints.