NEW YORK (MainStreet) Your office March Madness pool is chump change. Think you've got the line on this year's NCAA men's college basketball tournament? If you pull off a perfect bracket, Warren Buffet will pay you $1 billion. Yes, that's 'b' as in basketball.
Participants will submit their brackets online in order to qualify for the prize, which will be paid in 40 annual installments of $25 million each, or as an immediate lump sum payout of $500 million.
"Millions of people play brackets every March, so why not take a shot at becoming $1 billion richer for doing so," added Buffett, Chief Executive Officer of Berkshire Hathaway, who is insuring the contest's grand prize. "While there is no simple path to success, it sure doesn't get much easier than filling out a bracket online."
The promotion is sponsored by Quicken Loans, with the $1 billion prize guaranteed by Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway.
Like a full-court heave, it's a long shot. The odds of correctly predicting the winner of all 63 games is said to be 1 in 9.2 quintillion, according to USA Today. But if you know a little something about basketball, DePaul University math professor Jay Bergen says your odds skinny-up to about 1 in 128 billion.
However, the consolation prizes aren't too shabby. The contest will award $100,000 each to 20 of the most accurate brackets, to use toward buying, refinancing or remodeling a home.
Free contest registration will begin on Monday, March 3rd and run through Wednesday, March 19. All participants registering prior to the tournament selection process will receive their brackets the evening of Sunday, March 16 when entrants can begin filling out their bracket. March Madness tips off on March 18.
"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?" said Jay Farner, president and chief marketing officer of Quicken Loans. "We decided a billion dollars seems right for such an impressive feat."