By Jasper Huang
February is right around the corner – and a little further onwards is around the time that the gambling appetites of college basketball fanatics and basketball fans alike are whet. It’s almost time for March Madness.
March Madness dates back to 1939 – but never in its history has such a proposition been offered for a completely perfect, winning bracket. Investment tycoon Warren Buffet, in conjunction with Quicken Loans, has announced that he will fully back and insure a $1 billion prize paid to the winning bracket over a period of 40 years. “Past contests tied to the tournament have dangled seven- and eight-figure rewards, but this one significantly ups the stakes, even without the extra incentive of investment advice that Buffett promises.”
We have all been taught here at Bentley to take calculated risks, dependent on risk appetite… but this offer is one you can’t pass up – it’s potentially riskless. According to Quicken Loans CEO Jay Farner, players don’t have to pay anything to participate, “It is our mission to create amazing experiences for our clients, this contest, with the possibility of creating a billionaire, definitely fits that bill,” says Farner.
What are your odds of becoming a fledgling billionaire? Well, according to the Wall Street Journal, mathematicians polled in previous years had guesses anywhere from 1 in 150 million to 1 in 9 quintillion. Men’s website AskMen runs with the highest estimate, captioning that statement with, “the first thing you didn’t know about March Madness is that the odds of you picking a perfect March Madness bracket are not just horrible, they’re almost impossibly bad.”
If you think you have a chance in being the lucky 1 in 9 quintillion… try the lottery for perspective. With 1 in 175 million odds for the jackpot winning Power Play numbers means you are roughly 51 billion times more likely to win. Break that worst case scenario down into individual games and NY Daily News claims the odds are 1 in 4 billion per game.
Shameless publicity stunt and marketing plug for Quicken Loans? Probably. But that’s okay, because in the spirit of calculated risk-taking, it looks like Quicken and Buffett are fairly safe on this one. In the event that a miracle happens, Buffett said that he will personally accompany the winner to the national championship. Buffett said in an interview, “he and I will probably be pulling for different teams, I’m not eager to write a check for $1 billion.”
Sound too much like corporate PR, or too much like a marketing stunt? Don’t let that stop you – Quicken Loans is promising $100,000 to each of 20 closest bracket picks submitted – the only catch is that you use it towards buying, refinancing, or remodeling a home. So if you’ve wanted to add that new theater or indoor wave pool, now’s your chance.
March Madness officially begins March 18, so everyone has plenty of time to prepare until then. The details for how to become a billionaire will come online at 12:01AM, March 4, when the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge website activates. But it’s okay if you don’t win – Buffett says that even “Einstein himself could not figure out the odds.”
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