Warren Buffet Backs $1 Billion Prize for Perfect March Madness Bracket

Jan 21, 2014 05:15 PM EST | Matt Mercuro

Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. will back a $1 billion prize to someone who correctly predicts the winner of each game in the NCAA men's basketball tournament, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

The prize is being offered by Quicken Loans and would be paid in 40 annual installments of $25 million and split among more than one winner if there are multiple perfect entrants.

The winner will also have the option of a single $500 million payment.

"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?" Quicken Loans Chief Marketing Officer Jay Farner said in the statement, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. "We decided a billion dollars seems right for such an impressive feat."

It was Buffet himself who suggested the $1 billion contest to Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert last year during an economic-development event with Goldman Sachs, said Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein, Farner said in an interview, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

The single-elimination tournament starts this March. Submissions will be limited to one per household and stopped after 10 million entrants.

Current odds of picking every winner is less than 1 in 9 quintillion, according to Jeff Bergen, a math professor at DePaul University in Chicago. 

"He's risking a large amount of money, but in terms of his expected loss, he's not risking a whole lot," Bergen said according to Bloomberg Businessweek. "Warren Buffett isn't where Warren Buffett is by coming up with stupid ideas, stupid wagers."

Gilbert owns the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, which plays in an arena named after Gilbert's company.

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