Buffett's Berkshire, Quicken back basketball challenge - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Contest offers $1 billion for perfect NCAA bracket

(Source: MGN) (Source: MGN)

Now that the NCAA tournament bracket has been announced, it's time to try to win $1 billion.

In January, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway announced it was insuring a contest by Quicken Loans to pay a $1 billion prize to anyone who submits a perfect bracket for the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

The contest is live, and you can register through Yahoo.com. All you have to do is pick all the contests in the field of 64 correctly - the play-in games are not counted. Just be one of the first 15 million people to enter and make no mistakes.

Easy, right? Well, the odds are 9.2 quintillion to 1, and no one has even been known to do it correctly, so good luck.

Also, good luck fending off the email from Quicken Loans you're sure to get by forking over your email address to them. But the shot at $1 billion is definitely worth it.

The winner, if there is one, can take the prize in increments of $25 million paid out over 40 years or a $500 million lump sum. And in the mind-bogglingly improbable instance of two winners, they will have to split the prize.

Buffett said to CNN in January that if somebody has a bracket that has a chance of winning, he will invite the contestant to the national championship game as his guest.

"I will invite him or her to be my guest at the final game and be there with a check in my pocket, but I will not be cheering for him or her to win," he told CNN's Poppy Harlow. "I may even give them a little investment advice."

Quicken's president and chief marketing officer said plenty of contests offer $1 million prizes for a perfect bracket, but that's a pittance compared to the actual likelihood of picking all 67 games correctly.

"It is our mission to create amazing experiences for our clients," Jay Farner said. "This contest, with the possibility of creating a billionaire, definitely fits that bill."

Buffett's billion is likely to stay in his pocket: A quintillion is a 1 followed by 18 zeroes. That would be 1 million trillions. And in case there are any programmers out there working on a program to flood the contest with a bracket containing every possible outcome, the number of entrants is limited to 10 million American citizens who must be at least 21 years old. And only one entry will be allowed per household.

In addition, the Detroit-based Quicken will give $100,000 to each of the 20 contestants who submit the best "imperfect" brackets, and the company stated it would contribute $1 million to nonprofits in Detroit and Cleveland that are working to improving education for inner-city young people.

Entries must be completed by 1 a.m. ET Thursday.

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