A few years ago, the organisers of Dallas’ annual St. Patrick’s Day parade were on the verge of having to cancel the event when 2012’s main sponsor, Budweiser, pulled out just a month before it was to take place, on the Sunday before St. Paddy’s Day.
The organisers publicly announced they needed $US40,000 to stay afloat, and Dallas Mavericks owner and celebrity investor Mark Cuban stepped in to donate the funding, as well as an additional $US25,000 to the parade committee’s fund for the Dallas Independent School District, the Dallas Observer reported.
Cuban told the local press that he couldn’t let a Dallas tradition die, especially one that he enjoyed so much in his younger days since moving to the city in 1982.
“I figured that I killed a whole bunch of brain cells,” he told NBC’s Dallas affiliate, referring to some parade-goers’ tendency to get rowdy. “I want to give everybody else a chance.”
Since then, funding the parade has become a tradition of its own for Cuban, he tells Business Insider.
It’s also good for business. He uses the parade to promote his basketball team and some of his smaller companies to an audience of 100,000 people, and it’s helped improve his image among Dallas residents.
You won’t find Cuban participating in the parade — he’d much rather be away from the chaos in a bar watching sports, he told NBC — but you’ll find the Mavs and some of the companies he’s invested in sponsoring the event.
In 2012, he got Villy Custom, the bicycle company he made a deal with on ABC’s hit pitch show “Shark Tank,” to lead the parade, and for this year’s event, which was held on March 15, he got his messaging app Cyber Dust involved, as well as getting the Mavs’ logo on the official 2015 parade banner.
Cuban declined to say how much he invested in this year’s parade.
Alex Macon, online arts editor at D Magazine, didn’t attend the event this year due to a conflict, but as a Dallas native, he’s very familiar with the parade, which has been around since 1979.
Macon tells Business Insider that Cuban’s involvement in the event has boosted his image among Dallas natives:
It’s definitely the “thing to do” in Dallas every St. Patrick’s Day, and has been for as long as I can recall. I’m only 25, but my mother was taking me to the parade when I was 6 or 7 years old. …
The public is very much aware that Cuban has been footing the bill. The word “saviour ” was bandied about in bar conversations when it first happened, only a little ironically. I think there’s a lot of eye-rolling at Cuban’s persona here in Dallas, but most people seemed genuinely grateful that somebody was keeping the parade afloat.
Macon points out that Cuban saved the parade the year after the Mavs won the NBA Championship in 2011, and the combination won over many people who weren’t fans of him. “Those two things will get you a lot of goodwill here,” Macon says.
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