Forget every March Madness pool you've ever entered. Warren Buffett is offering a new contest this year, and we can assure you the only thing more insane than the winnings are your odds of coming out on top.
Buffett and his billionaire buddy Dan Gilbert are partnering on a promotion that will award $1 billion to anyone that can predict every single game of the NCAA tournament. Gilbert's Quicken Loans is offering the grand prize and Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is insuring it. The winner can take his or her prize in 40 installments of $25 million or an immediate lump sum payment of $500 million.
Your odds of picking every single game? A smooth 1 in 9.2 quintillion.
"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? We decided a billion dollars seems right for such an impressive feat," Jay Farner, President and Chief Marketing Officer of Quicken Loans said in a statement. "It is our mission to create amazing experiences for our clients. This contest, with the possibility of creating a billionaire, definitely fits that bill."
— Dan Gilbert (@cavsdan) January 21, 2014
The 1 in 9.2 quintillion figure is a bit of a stretch because some outcomes are more likely than others. A No. 1 seed has never lost in the first round, for example. According to DePaul University math professor Jay Bergen that yields odds of about 1 in 128 billion.
Those odds aren't likely to do much in the way of optimism, but there are actually some attainable prizes being offered by Buffet and Gilbert. The 20 entrants with the best brackets will each win a $100,000 prize from Quicken Loans that can be used towards buying, refinancing or remodeling a home.
As part of the competition, Quicken Loans will be donating $1 million to inner-city non-profit organizations in Detroit and Cleveland. Quicken Loans is based in Detroit (where Gilbert was born) and Gilbert is the majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The contest, which is free to enter, begins on March 3.
"Millions of people play brackets every March, so why not take a shot at becoming $1 billion richer for doing so," Buffett said. "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."