Registration has opened for Warren Buffett's contest that will award $1 billion to anyone who can correctly guess the winners of every game during the upcoming NCAA men's college basketball tournament.
Buffett is insuring the landmark contest, which is free to enter and sponsored by Detroit-based Quicken Loans.
Quicken paid Buffett an undisclosed fee -- believed to be many millions of dollars -- to cover the $1 billion prize in the highly unlikely event that someone turns in a perfect bracket.
Those interested in entering the contest will need to first sign up at quickenloansbracket.com. The contest is limited to the first 15 million people who register.
Experts have called the contest a savvy marketing ploy, as it has already generated significant publicity for Quicken, the nation's third-largest mortgage issuer.
Quicken will also gain volumes of personal information about entrants, who are asked to provide their names, email addresses, dates of birth, home addresses, details of mortgages they hold and an opportunity to opt-in for Quicken marketing emails or to speak to a "loan expert about my mortgage opportunities."
Yahoo Sports is handling technology support for the contest -- again with significant marketing appeal. Entrants are required to sign up for a free Yahoo account in order to submit a bracket, potentially drawing millions of new eyeballs to Yahoo's ad-based website.
Buffett's exposure appears minimal. Even a skilled handicapper would have about a 1-in-1-billion chance of completing a perfect bracket, said Ezra Miller, a Duke University mathematics professor.
And further reducing his liability, Buffett said he would likely make an "offer you can't refuse" to buy out anyone who makes it to the Final Four with a perfect bracket.
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