As we head toward the Final Four and Opening Day of Baseball there is an interesting mix we had previously talked about that ties both sports together in an unusual way. At the beginning of March Madness, Bloomberg announced a pool with 32 high level CEO’s each kicking in $10,000, with the winner getting the whole pot, $320,000 to go to a dedicated charity of their choice.
The list of CEO’s ranged from Michael Bloomberg to AOL’s Tim Armstrong, and from the Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio to Under Armour’s Kevin Plank, all chipping in for the cause of their choice. From education to food banks, cancer charities to wrestling programs, the help would be for a wide range of programs.
The Final Four has little Cinderella and lots of favorites, all of which could lead to a compelling finish to a great event at Lucas Oil Stadium. Who in the Bloomberg pool could cash in? One unique mix has baseball potentially benefiting, while the other may have some good karma for basketball and LeBron James.
Gary Cohen, CEO of Goldman Sachs, leads the group with all four of his Final Four intact, but needs Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin Badgers to win it all. If Frank Kaminsky and Co. make it past Kentucky and through the finals, the windfall would go to Harlem RBI, the not-for-profit that works with Major League Baseball to grow the game in inner cities.
Cohen’s 144 points places him ahead of Quicken Loans founder and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers Dan Gilbert, who is second with 139 points and has 3/4’s of the Final Four left. The difference is Gilbert has overwhelming favorite Kentucky winning it all, which would move him to the top spot as he plays for the Children’s Tumor Foundation.
EBay President and CEO John Donahoe is third, with Milwaukee Bucks owner Mark Lasry fourth, although neither appear to have the mix to leapfrog the top two.
On the bottom, keep fretting Lakers fans, as it looks like CEO Jeanie Buss will be bringing up the rear with just 90 points, although she does have Kentucky winning it all. Plank sadly is just ahead of her and with no one left in his Final Four, he may hit bottom as well. All in fun and philanthropy though.
The new concept by Bloomberg could bode well for giving elsewhere as well. How about a Women’s World Cup pool coming up as well, with some global heads putting $10 K in the kitty?