Lawsuits Spoil Buffett’s Billion Dollar NCAA Bracket Contest For 2015

Lawsuits Spoil Buffett’s Billion Dollar NCAA Bracket Contest For 2015
By Mark Hirschey (Work of Mark Hirschey) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

There was bad news for college basketball fans this week. Warren Buffett’s hugely popular Quicken Loans March Madness billion dollar NCAA bracket contest will not be repeated this year. According to an article in CNN Money, legal wrangling between Yahoo, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and SCA Promotions shot down a repeat of the hugely successful promotion again this year.

Details on the legal wrangling over billion dollar NCAA bracket contest

Apparently the problem is that small sweepstakes company SCA Promotions sued Yahoo last year, alleging the search giant stole the idea for a billion dollar NCAA bracket contest from them.

Yahoo then counter sued, claiming that SCA ruined the deal when it went to Berkshire to buy insurance that would pay $1 billion just in case someone miraculously won the contest.

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Back in February, Yahoo sent subpoenas to Berkshire Hathaway requesting information about any deals it made with SCA, including all communication between Buffett and SCA about the contest, according to court filings.

Berkshire’s legal team then asked the judge to deny the subpoenas, calling them “overboard” and “unduly burdensome.”

None of the parties involved were willing to comment for the story.

Statement from Quicken loans

Quicken Loans spokesperson Aaron Emerson released a late statement last week: “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.”

Long odds to hit perfect March Madness bracket

A mathematician from DePaul University famously estimated estimated the likelihood of a fan correctly guessing all 63 NCAA tournament games was 9,223,372,036,854,775,808-to-1. That figure, however, assumes a 50% probability of picking each game, and even a college basketball fan should be able to analyze match up well enough to pick the winner at least 60-70% of the time. With that in mind, the odds of a college basketball fan picking a perfect NCAA bracket ate more like two or three billion to one.

Of note, last year no contestants even made it past the first round of 32 games in the NCAA tournament without at least one miss.

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