Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway will insure a $1 billion prize from mortgage lender Quicken Loans to anyone who correctly predicts the winner of every NCAA tournament game in a contest it's holding this March.
Quicken Loans said today that an entrant with "the perfect bracket" in its upcoming contest can either get $1 billion in 40 annual installments of $25 million, or a $500 million lump sum, which will be shared if there is more than one winning bracket. By insuring the challenge, Berkshire, which Buffett is the CEO and chairman of, will backstop the payments from the Detroit-based mortgage-lender.
"Millions of people play brackets every March, so why not take a shot at becoming $1 billion richer for doing so," Buffett said in the statement. "While there is no simple path to success, it sure doesn't get much easier than filling out a bracket online. To quote a commercial from one of my companies, I'd dare say it's so easy to enter that even a caveman can do it."
The mortgage lender also said it will give $100,000 each to the top 20 bracket-makers for remodeling, buying, or refinancing a home.
But before you start counting the dollars and humming Travie McCoy's "Billionaire," the odds of filling out a perfect bracket are actually 1 in 9.2 quintillion, a nine with 18 zeroes behind it, according to USA Today. If you know something about NCAA basketball, that makes your odds slightly better...to 1 in 128 billion. Still dismal. (Quicken Loans says online that the odds of winning the grand prize are roughly 1 in 4.3 billion.)
The Hartford Courant noted last year that among the 8.15 million brackets submitted in ESPN.com's Men's Tournament Challenge last year, only 47 got all of the Final Four teams right.
Quicken Loans said the contest will start March 3.