If you think the prize for the winner of your March Madness office pool is pretty sweet, you might want to think again.
Online mortgage lender Quicken Loans and Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company run by Warren Buffett, recently announced they are teaming up to award $1 billion to the person who chooses a perfect NCAA March Madness tournament bracket.
Quicken is running the competition, and paying Berkshire Hathaway an undisclosed premium to insure and foot the bill for the prize, which will be paid out in either 40 annual installments or a $500 million lump sum.
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Quicken will pay $100,000 to the 20 qualified participants who come closest to a perfect bracket, to be put towards purchasing, refinancing or remodeling a home. The company will also donate $1 million to education non-profits in Detroit and Cleveland. Quicken's founder Dan Gilbert is an owner of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that plays their home games in the aptly named Quicken Loans Arena.
Buffett may not be too concerned about paying out the combined $2 million in full. The chances of someone predicting the correct outcome of all 63 games is around 1 in 9.2 quintillion (that's 18 zeroes). How do you like those odds?
Quicken is the fourth largest mortgage lender in the U.S., following J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, and it would seem that Gilbert is hoping that this "Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge," will up the company's name recognition and customer base long after the final basket.
The contest will start on March 3 and run through March 19. To be eligible to win, you have to be a U.S. citizen, 21 or older and be among the first 10 million people to register.