According to a poll by MSN on March 1, 2012, 60% of the people said they would fill out their bracket for the NCAA March Madness tournament. What can be done to get every single person in the United States to predict their brackets this upcoming March? Offer $1 billion of course.
Warren Buffett, who ranks 4th on Forbes list of top billionaires, announced on January 21 that he, together with his company Berkshire Hathaway, will be partnering with Quicken Loans, owned by fellow billionaire Dan Gilbert (also the owner of the NBA team Cleveland Cavaliers), to host the ‘Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket.’ The rules are simple. Whoever can correctly guess every outcome of the 68-team tournament will win $1 billion. According to DePaul Professor Jeff Bergen, the odds of predicting the bracket is 1 in 9 quintillion, thus dwarfing the chances of winning last year’s Mega Millions $648 million jackpot which was one out of 259 million. In other words, the only possible way to win this contest is to take a DeLorean to the future and buy a sports almanac.
"Millions of people play brackets every March, so why not take a shot at becoming $1 billion richer for doing so," said Buffett. "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."
According to the Quicken Loan’s Facebook page, the contest will begin at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard time on March 3, 2014 and will end at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Standard time on March 19, 2014. The rules also state that no purchases are necessary to enter the contest and the contest is open to legal residents of all 50 states and DC who are 21 years of age or older. There is a limit of one bracket per household and the contest will take in the first 10,000,000 registrants, but Quicken Loans have the right to take in more applicants if they are feeling generous. For those who may have correctly predicted their bracket until the final round, there is nothing to fret about. Quicken Loans will also award $100,000 to the contest’s top 20 scoring brackets. In other words, there’s a good chance you will get some cash if you happen to successfully guess 63 out of the 64 games played. The grand prize will be given to the winner through 40 annual installments of $25 million and will be split if there happens to be multiple winners. But there is a good chance the winner won’t have to worry about splitting the pot, if the winner will exist.
There has never been a correctly predicted bracket in the history of March Madness. While basketball experts would usually predict that the number 1 seed will defeat the number 16 seed in the first round, there have been special cases every year where one team made a Cinderella run. In the 2013 edition Florida Gulf Coast University began the tournament as a 15th seed, but managed to upset 2nd seed Georgetown University and stormed their way to the top 16 where they lost to the University of Florida. The 2012 tournament saw no-name schools like Lehigh and Norfolk State defeat perennial powerhouses Duke and University of Missouri, respectively. With the college basketball season halfway gone, it’s not too late to keep an eye out for a small-school team who can potentially break everyone’s brackets.
According to Wall Street Journal, Buffett said that if one lucky contestant is one win away from taking a billion, he will accompany him to the national championship game on April 7. “He and I will probably be pulling for different teams,” Buffett said. “I’m not eager to write a check for $1 billion.”