$1 billion prize for perfect bracket

  • ESPN.com news services | January 23, 2014
Bracket
ESPN

DETROIT -- Correctly predicting the outcome of every game in the NCAA men's basketball tournament is no layup. There's now a $1 billion prize waiting for anyone able to pull off the feat this spring.

You read that right. That's billion. With a "B."

Quicken Loans Inc. announced Tuesday that it will team with investor Warren Buffett's Omaha, Neb.,-based Berkshire Hathaway on the "Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge."

The Detroit-based mortgage lender says any qualified entrant who correctly predicts the winners of every game in the tournament will be paid in 40 annual installments of $25 million.

The odds of achieving such a feat? Well, there are 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 -- that's 9 quintillion (with a "Q") -- ways to fill out a bracket, and entries will be limited to one per household.

A winner can elect to receive an immediate $500 million lump-sum payment or share in that payment if there's more than one perfect bracket submitted.

"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 president Jay Farner said in a release. "We decided a billion dollars seems right for such an impressive feat."

In addition to the potential grand prize, Quicken Loans will award $100,000 each to the contest's 20 most accurate "imperfect" brackets submitted by qualified entrants in the contest to use toward buying, refinancing or remodeling a home.

John Diver, director of product development for ESPN Fantasy, said not a single bracket among the almost 30 million entries submitted to ESPN's Tournament Challenge over the past 16 years has been perfect.

"I don't want to say it's impossible," Diver said, "but it's basically impossible."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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