In 2014, billionaire investor Warren Buffett caused a stir when he offered $1 billion to anyone who could pick a perfect bracket in March Madness, the annual men’s NCAA basketball tournament.
The Billion Dollar Bracket generated a lot of attention for Buffett, the world’s third richest man, who is currently worth $62 billion. It was a safe bet, with the odds of hitting a perfect NCAA bracket calculated at 1 in 9.2 quintillion. Not surprisingly, there were no winners who stepped forward.
Buffett is Back
This year, the billionaire investor and avid sports fan is back with a March Madness bracket contest, but sadly, it’s only open to his employees. Actually, this bracket contest has become a regular thing for the roughly 367,700 employees of Berkshire and its subsidiaries since 2014.
Buffett will pay $1 million a year for life to any employee who correctly picks the Sweet 16 NCAA basketball teams in the company bracket.
“If they can get to the Sweet 16, if there’s only one of them, whoever it is, he or she gets a million dollars a year for the rest of their life,” Buffett said Monday on CNBC‘s Squawk Box.
You Don’t Have to be an Expert
Even if there’s no big winner, someone could walk away with some serious cash because Buffett will give over $100,000 to the person in the company contest who goes the furthest without a busted bracket. Last year, two employees – out of the 85,000 who submitted brackets – finished in a tie.
“One of them knew a lot about basketball, the other didn’t know anything about basketball,” Buffett said, “but they each got $50,000 out of it.”
Why Wouldn’t You Play?
This year, Buffett says he expects more than 100,000 employees to participate in guessing the basketball odds, but he isn’t too concerned if there’s a big winner. After all, he didn’t get where he is today by giving away money. Buffett is in the insurance business and understands better than most that the odds are stacked in his favor.
No one has picked a perfect bracket to date, or even gotten to the Sweet Sixteen in any of Buffett’s March Madness bracket contests yet, but why wouldn’t a Berkshire employee play? Buffett isn’t sweating it either, even though he has the most on the line.
“We’ve lost more money in a given event before,” Buffett said in 2014 when he was asked about the billion-dollar game. “Hurricane Katrina probably cost us $3 billion. We will put more at risk in a given insurance transaction than anyone in the world. But we have more capital than anyone in the world.”
When the NCAA tournament ends, even if there is a winner, that statement will still hold true.
What Are Your Chances of a Perfect NCAA Bracket?
That season, ESPN also noted that 1,140 out of more than 13 million correctly picked the Final Four. Your chances of winning are infinitesimal at best if you work for Berkshire Hathaway or one of its subsidiaries.
More Free March Madness Bracket Contests
Not a Warren Buffet employee? You can still try your luck at winning $1 million with these college basketball odds. Check them out at these two offshore betting sites offering March Madness Bracket Contests this year:
Bookmaker.eu: $1 Million Perfect Bracket Contest
Diamond SportsBook: $1 Million Bracket Challenge
Need a printable 2017 NCAA March Madness Bracket? Click here.
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