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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Little Caesars gives away free pizza after UMBC’s upset victory over Virginia

Little Caesars locations across the country, including this one on Spokane’s South Hill, doled out free pizza combos Monday as part of a March Madness promotion that hinged on an unlikely victory in the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. (Chad Sokol / The Spokesman-Review)
Little Caesars locations across the country, including this one on Spokane’s South Hill, doled out free pizza combos Monday as part of a March Madness promotion that hinged on an unlikely victory in the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. (Chad Sokol / The Spokesman-Review)

A promise is a promise.

Little Caesars locations across the country, including several in Spokane, doled out free pizza combos Monday as part of a March Madness promotion that hinged on an unlikely victory in the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

The company tweeted on March 16 that it would offer free pizza if a 16-seed team beat a No. 1 seed – a feat no team had accomplished in the tournament’s 79-year history.

That evening, the little-known UMBC Retrievers scored a 20-point victory over powerhouse Virginia. Little Caesars declared shortly afterward that “CRAZY HAPPENED.”

On Monday, a line stretched out the door at the Little Caesars shop at 29th Avenue and Regal Street after word spread about the giveaway on social media.

General manager Ryan Meehan said 240 people redeemed vouchers during the promotion, which ran from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. That’s about twice as many as expected, he said.

The shop eventually ran out of four-slice, deep-dish pizzas and had to start giving away standard pies. Visitors also received free 20-ounce bottles of Pepsi products.

Meehan estimated his store gave away about $1,200 worth of lunch combos, which typically cost $5 each.

Phil Martin stood among the hungry crowd and took a big whiff as he opened the door to the pizza shop.

“Smells better than expensive pizza,” he joked. “Whichever team lost in order for us to get this: Thank you.”

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