50/50 fever has swept Alberta again on Wednesday as the Edmonton Oilers‘ online raffle hit a record-setting $5.4 million before the draw reached the maximum number of tickets and ended sales.
According to the online page, the pot hit the $2-million mark just before 11:30 a.m. That was nine hours before the puck was scheduled to drop for Game 3 against the Chicago Blackhawks.
It only took another hour for the pot to climb to $3 million. In another 30 minutes, it had surpassed $4 million. By just after 2 p.m., the tally had reached over $5 million.
By 2:30 p.m., the tally sat at $5.4 million, and the Oilers Community Foundation announced that ticket sales had ended — just five hours after sales kicked off.
“The passion and support for the 50/50 raffle has been exceptional and is yet another concrete example of Oilers fans’ commitment to their community,” the Oilers Entertainment Group said in a news release.
According to the OEG, the winner will take home $2,708,565.
“You should expect improvements in the very immediate future as we chase yet another 50/50 record,” the OEG said. “We will work diligently to address the maximum ticket issue in advance of Friday’s game to give Oilers fans every opportunity to support the raffle.”
Daniel Lewis — the CEO of company running the online sales, Ascend Fundraising Solutions – had said earlier in the day it had been expected the raffle would be sold out of tickets between $5 million and $6 million.
Monday night’s raffle for Game 2 of the Oilers and Blackhawks series obliterated the record for the largest sports raffle as the pot surpassed $3.2 million. The previous record was held by Toronto Raptors fans when the 50/50 reached $2 million during the 2019 NBA Finals.
The winner of Monday’s pot will take home $1.6 million. Funds raised in the 50/50 go to the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation.
“It’s overwhelming. I’m almost speechless,” executive director Natalie Minckler told Global News on Monday. “We’re thrilled, we’re surprised, we’re shocked, we’re humbled.”
The EOCF supports registered charitable organizations in Alberta.
–With files from Allison Bench