American business magnate Warren Buffett is offering an incredible $1 billion if someone can make the ultimate sports prediction.
So what sport do you need to be an expert in to pocket the cash? The football World Cup? The Wimbledon tennis championship?
Alas no – it is US college basketball!
College basketball in the United States is one of the more popular 'betting' sports in the States, even though gambling is still illegal in the vast majority of the country.
More specifically the national college basketball tournament – nicknamed 'March Madness' – is what sparks such interest.
The tournament is competed for in the form of a 'bracket' where all the teams are seeded, not dissimilar to a tennis tournament, and split into four regions. First plays 16, eight plays ninth etc...in each region and they then play on down until the winner of each region makes up the 'Final Four'.
There are a few qualification games, but it is essentially a 64-team tournament, and throughout offices, clubs and homes, people fill out their brackets and try and beat their friends and colleagues, with the person with the most accurate bracket usually winning a prize.
It is such a national tradition that even the President usually fills out a bracket.
Now up steps Buffett who is insuring the event for a company called Quicken Loans, and will offer $1bn to anybody who successfully fills out a 'perfect bracket' for the 2014 tournament.
That means correctly forecasting 67 games, which as you can imagine, is pretty unlikely.
The odds of winning the Grand Prize are believed to be 4,294,967,296-1. Even somebody who was an expert in both gambling and college basketball would be looking at odds of over one billion to one. While last year, when there were a number of shock results, the figure was actually 9,223,372,036,854,775,808-1.
If somebody does strike it incredibly lucky, they would be given the option of 40 annual payments of $25m or a lump sum of $500m
Quicken will also award $100,000 each to the contest's 20 most accurate brackets.
So what's in for them?
From the LA Times:
Jay Farner, Quicken's president and marketing chief, said his company would benefit from the contest in two ways — news coverage and access to the email addresses of millions of potential customers. Anyone who enters the contest will have the option of receiving email offers from Quicken, he said.
"The more familiar Americans are with Quicken Loans, what we're really about, the higher probability they'll close a loan with us," Farner said. "We wouldn't be investing the money, energy and time if we didn't think it would be worthwhile."
Meanwhile, Buffett, who is worth an estimated $58bn, will receive the insurance premium from Quicken, the amount of which he refused to reveal.
"If I were Warren Buffett, anything over $10m, I would probably do it," Ezra Miller, a Duke University mathematics professor, told the LA Times."If $1m were going to ruin me, I wouldn't. But it's not going to ruin Warren Buffett."