Even $59 billion investment guru Warren Buffett couldn’t resist getting in on the action. Though you can no longer enter the Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket contest sponsored by Yahoo Sports (YHOO), nearly 15 million people did.
Buffett came up with the idea to give $1 billion to anyone who could correctly pick the winners of all 63 games in the tournament. He made it free and super easy to enter. “To quote a commercial from one of my companies, I’d dare say it’s so easy to enter that even a caveman can do it,” Buffett joked, referencing GEICO insurance, a company that happens to be a huge success for his Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) with a $2.5 billion profit.
It may be easy to enter, but it’s really a longshot that anyone will win. In fact, odds of picking 63-of-63 games is just one in 4,294,967,296. The IRS folks are probably licking their chops at the income taxes that sum would generate. The winner would have the option to receive $1 billion payable over 40 years in annual installments of $25 million, or a one-time payment.
A non-married person would pay about $394,213,920 in federal income taxes if he or she opted for annual payments, or $197,955,348 for a lump sum.
Not likely the IRS or someone entering the Buffett contest will win, but many of the 50 million who play NCAA office pools each year and pick the most winning teams will win something. The biggest losers? Corporate America, which stands to lose $1.2 billion for every unproductive work hour during the first week of the tournament spent bracketing.