Little Caesars has had about as great a March 2018 at Sister Jean and the Ramblers from Loyola of Chicago. The pizza chain's gambit of offering a free lunch combo to everyone in America should a Number 16 team pull an upset win over a top seed is coming on Monday April 2. But at what cost?

A #16 had never beaten a #1 this year it happened with UMBC (who? Oh, University of Maryland Baltimore County. Sup?) making the University of Virginia sputter worse than a '96 Chevy Cavalier. So it might have been a reasonable gamble for the marketers at Little Caesars to make - a fairly safe prop bet.

The free-food-for-everyone concept was launched several years ago by Taco Bell during the World Series with the Steal-a-Base-Steal-a-Taco campaign. The difference here is that there's very likely going to be a stolen base at some point in the series. Taco Bell would have been well prepared for the eventuality of Free Taco Day.

So how much is the Detroit-based Little Caesars going to pay for the massive pizza grab? Crain's Detroit Business crunched some numbers and estimates that the cost of the Lunch Combo Giveaway, a 4-slice pizza and 20-ounce pop, will be $4.3 million chain-wide. However they also estimate that the company has received $7 million in media exposure and publicity (in articles just like this one you're reading).

Crain's was told by a source familiar with how the company's economics work that Little Caesars spends about $1.50 in food costs for the lunch combo — the beverage portion is subsidized by Pepsi — so when combined with labor costs and loss of traditional sales, the cost for each participating store will be about $1,000.

If most of Little Caesars' approximately 4,300 domestic stores participate, that's $4.3 million in costs for the lunch giveaway. That cost is offset by the free brand exposure...generated.

So when you're enjoying free lunch Monday on Little Caesar's dime, know that the chain is making out just fine. Just fine indeed.

BONUS VIDEO - When Little Caesars Did Breakfast