Sunday, March 15, 2015

Warren Buffet eliminates $1 billion NCAA Tournament Bracket Challenge for 2015: Report

The dreams of millions of college basketball fans were shattered this week when Warren Buffet's $1 billion NCAA Tournament bracket challenge was dropped.

And it's not because the odds of winning were so minuscule (A mathematician from DePaul estimated the likelihood of a fan correctly guessing all 63 NCAA tournament games of the main draw was 9,223,372,036,854,775,808-to-1) but because the companies behind the contest are too busy suing each other to organize another one this year.

Quicken Loans, Warren Buffett's Berkshire-Hathaway and Yahoo teamed up to offer a $1 billion prize to the fan who correctly picked all 64 winners in last year's NCAA men's college basketball tournament.

The free contest was all but impossible to win, making it a safe bet for Berkshire, which would have had to pay out the prize money. And since none of the contestants made it past the first round of 32 games without at least one mistake, it seemed like a sure thing that the contest would be back.

But then the lawyers got involved. 

So, what was supposed to be a light-hearted publicity stunt ultimately turned into a series of lawsuits over who came up with the idea first.

The squabbling started last year when a small sweepstakes company called SCA Promotions sued Yahoo for allegedly backing out of a deal to put on the perfect bracket contest.

Yahoo counter sued, alleging that SCA spilled the beans when it went to Berkshire to buy insurance that would pay $1 billion in the unlikely event that someone won the contest.

In February, Yahoo sent subpoenas to Berkshire seeking information about its dealings with SCA, including all communication between Buffett and SCA about the contest, according to court documents.

Berkshire responded by asking a judge to quash the subpoenas, which it called "overboard" and "unduly burdensome."

Quicken Loans spokesperson Aaron Emerson released a statement to Benzinga's Javier Hasse (via Yahoo Finance) that read: "Instead of repeating the bracket contest, we are now turning our attention to something new and innovative that will carry on our heritage of launching unexpected and engaging events that will take the nation by storm again."

All that sounds like is a bunch of rich guys having fun.

And while the odds of becoming an instant billionaire were almost non-existent, dreaming of a billion dollars made The Big Dance just a little more fun — at least until that first Cinderella upset.

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