Raptors fans felt cheated this week after their team’s devastating Game 5 loss to the Warriors on Monday. However, one lucky fan was celebrating big time. The Toronto Raptors' 50/50 ticket draw gave away a whopping $1 million dollars, which is believed to be the largest raffle prize ever to be handed out in North American sporting event history, according to the Toronto Star. The MLSE Foundation announced the winning number on its website at 9 PM on June 10th.
The unbelievable jackpot smashed previous records for being the largest ever 50/50 draw prize. According to The Star, the previous highest jackpot was capped off at $706,815 during a Vancouver Canucks and L.A Kings game back in November of 2018.
The Raptors ground-breaking season this year has played a large part in the 50/50 draw amassing such a record-setting award. The Hamilton Spectator reported that revenue for the foundation’s jackpot skyrocketed during Game 1 of the NBA Finals with the prize increasing by over $20,000, going from $387,150 to $407,290.
According to Michael Bartlett, who serves as Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment's head of community affairs, the incredibly high sales figures due to the NBA Finals were completely unexpected.
"It's been the great mentions that we've got from our partners in broadcast to be able to promote the 50/50 purchasing online... and that combined with record numbers in viewership is what's driving that number up," Bartlett said during an interview with the Toronto Star.
According to MSLE website, the 50/50 draw is a lottery in which 50% of the ticket revenue brought in is given to the winning ticket holder, and 50% goes to the benefitting charity. This means not only are records being broken but they are also for a good cause.
The MLSE Foundation currently runs several 50/50 draws including ones for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto FC, Toronto Argonauts and Toronto Rock home games alongside other events.
The foundation's 50/50 draw is the largest on-going fundraiser in Canada with over $6 million raised through online 50/50 sales since its online launch in March.
According to MLSE, the 50/50 jackpot is only available for home games. There will be no Game 6 50/50 jackpot when the Raptors face the Warriors in Oakland.
In the event of a Game 7 - set for Sunday, June 16th - 50/50 tickets will be made available to purchase on Friday, June 14th. The winner will be announced on Monday, June 17th. Tickets can be purchased at 5050.Raptors.com.
Editor's note: This article has been modified to include accurate details about the Raptors Game 5 draw.