Has Buffett Gone Mad? Berkshire Hathaway Founder Steps Up A $1B For College Basketball

| About: Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A)

Warren Buffett has offered $1 billion dollars to anyone who can pick a perfect bracket pick for the NCAA "March Madness" competition. Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B), and regarded by many as the most successful investor of the 20th century, Buffett looks forward to the project with enthusiasm as it combines technical analysis and intuition-both of which he uses in his every day work.

Deal Drafted With Quicken Loans CEO

The "Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge" was brainstormed by Buffett and Quicken Loan's chairman, Dan Gilbert, after they met at Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative in Detroit. The two schemed the contest and payout while touring the city. (Both men plan to fill out their own bracket for the tournament -- and have a side bet on this year's winner.) Buffett and Gilbert considered the contest good promotional teamwork, with Berkshire Hathaway insuring the $1 billion amount under the auspices of the Quicken Loans banner. Jay Farner, President and Chief of Marketing for Quicken Loans, promises a vigorous ad campaign to promote the contest, bringing a Quicken Loans a considerable amount of attention via promotional emails, print ads, and TV spots.

Playing the Odds

Fans have always enjoyed predicting the NCAA winners, with tens of millions of brackets filled out over the course of a season; however, the odds of actually accomplishing a pick of all the winners is 9.2 quintillion to one. That's a 9 followed by 18 zeros. Knowing a little something about basketball only drops the odds to 128 billion to 1; thus, Mr. Buffett's billion-dollar backing is probably safe. The campaign itself, however, will help generate even greater interest in college basketball-and in Quicken Loans-as families gather around the TV to enjoy this year's NCAA tournament.

Rules of the Game

The contest has no entry fee and is open to all. The first 10 million people to enter will be eligible for the grand prize. The contestant with the perfect bracket pick of game winners will be awarded $1 billion, to be paid in 40 installments of $25 million or a one lump-sum payment of $500 million. The contest will also provide $100,000 to top 20 most accurate bracket picks. The money must be used to purchase, refinance, or remodel a home. The contest will be open for registration March 3rd, 2014. Registrants who have signed up before the tournament selection process will receive brackets by the evening of March 16th.

Win-Win-Win For Berkshire Hathaway

The "Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge" highlight's Buffet's ingenuity, enjoyment of competition, and generosity in the inclusion of Quicken Loans. A great play for Buffett and great exposure for Berkshire Hathaway which continues to be a favorite growth company for us in 2014.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.