Published January 22, 2014
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) is teaming up with Quicken Loans to offer $1 billion to the person who can predict the winner of every March Madness game this year.
The grand prize would go to a contestant who picks the perfect bracket for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which is slated to tip off on March 18. Participants can register starting March 3 and create brackets the evening of March 16, when the NCAA releases the first-round schedule.
Quicken Loans, the nation’s fourth-largest mortgage lender, said it will also award $100,000 to each of the 20 most accurate brackets. That prize must be used toward buying, refinancing or remodeling a home.
In addition to the contest, Detroit-based Quicken Loans plans to donate $1 million to inner-city Detroit and Cleveland non-profit education. Dan Gilbert, the founder of Quicken Loans, owns the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“We’ve seen a lot of contests offering a million dollars for putting together a good bracket, which got us thinking, what is the perfect bracket worth?” Jay Farner, president and chief marketing officer of Quicken Loans, said in a statement.
Berkshire Hathaway often insures major gambles, such as a $1 billion bet in 2010 that France would be eliminated from the World Cup soccer tournament that year.
“Millions of people play brackets every March, so why not take a shot at becoming $1 billion richer for doing so,” said Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. “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,” he added, referring to Geico.
Any contestant who wins the $1 billion March Madness offer would be paid in 40 annual installments of $25 million. The prize will be split among multiple winners if more than one perfect bracket is submitted. Winners can also elect to receive a lump sum payment.
The NCAA tournament is one of the most popular sporting events each year. Around 23.4 million viewers watched last year’s championship game between the University of Louisville and the University of Michigan, according to CBS (CBS).