Well, somehow it’s already late January, which means NCAA March Madness is less than two months away!
It’s personally one of my favorite sporting events, perhaps after the Olympics and the World Cup, but far more exciting than the boring old Super Bowl.
With that said, here come the perfect bracket contests…
Perhaps the most exciting, ridiculous, and inane one is sponsored by Quicken Loans, the self-described “fourth largest retail home mortgage lender” in the nation.
They apparently closed a record $80 billion in home loans last year across all 50 states, likely thanks to those stellar mortgage rates on offer.
Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge
The Detroit-based lender has teamed up with Warren Buffett and his Berkshire Hathaway company to offer a startling $1 billion to any entrant who manages to complete a perfect bracket in the upcoming men’s college basketball championship tournament.
The $1 billion prize will be paid in 40 annual installments of $25 million, or if the winner prefers, a $500 million lump sum payout.
For the record, Buffett is simply insuring the event, coined the “Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge.”
And it’s no wonder why he agreed to insure it. There’s no chance of filling out a perfect bracket, at least, if you believe DePaul math professor Jay Bergen.
The prof claims there are over nine quintillion ways to fill out a March Madness bracket, meaning the odds are against you. Big time.
To be exact, the odds are 1 in 9.2 quintillion, or 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 1.
But hey, no one said it’d be easy to win $1 billion dollars, did they?
Harder Than Four Hole-in-Ones in a Single Round of Golf
Just how hard is it, you ask? Well, supposedly harder than sinking four hole-in-ones during a single round of golf.
Most people will never hit a hole-in-one, so hitting four in one round would defy the rules of logic.
But it should be noted that the numbers are a bit exaggerated. A 16-seed has never defeated a 1-seed, so that makes the odds much more favorable right there.
And only seven 15-seeds have won a first round game. One actually won a second round game last year (Florida Gulf Coast vs. San Diego State).
So if you take that into account, your odds of winning the $1 billion are much greater.
Still, using refined odds, it would still take about 400 years to see a prefect bracket if everyone in the United States filled one out each year.
In other words, great marketing play by Quicken and Warren Buffett.
You Actually Have a Chance to Win $100,000
Along with the out-of-reach grand prize, Quicken will award $100,000 to the 20 best “imperfect” brackets submitted. The money can be used to buy, refinance, or remodel a home.
Free registration for the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge begins on March 3rd and closes on March 19th.
Participants who register prior to the tournament selection process will receive their brackets on March 16th.
To be eligible for the prizes, you must be 21 years of age or older, a U.S. citizen, and one of the first 10 million to register. Submissions are limited to one per household. No purchase is necessary to participate.
Good luck to all!
See also: Mortgage Madness 2013