Quicken Loans bets a billion dollars on March Madness

Odds of winning in the quintillions

[Update 1: Entrance to this contest is now closed.]

Quicken Loans wants to give you a billion dollars. All you have to do is beat odds that are so mathematically impossible that they defy understanding.

Quicken Loans, the nation’s third largest mortgage originator, has partnered with Yahoo! and Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway to launch the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge.

To win the billion dollars, you must accurately predict the winners of all 63 games in the college men’s basketball tournament. And to do that, you have to beat the listed odds of 9,223,372,036,854,775,808:1.

That’s 9 quintillion, by the way.

You have roughly the same odds of winning the lottery 35 billion times in your life as you do in picking the 63 games correctly; at least according the odds listed in the official challenge rules.

“Millions of people are getting ready to enter the ‘Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket’ challenge,” said Dan Gilbert, Founder and Chairman of Quicken Loans in a release. “When you are putting on a nationwide contest of this size, it’s important to work with the best partners to ensure its success. Yahoo Sports and their bracket technology is second to none. We are confident they will deliver a billion dollar-like experience.”

You can also opt in to “speak with a home loan expert to see if a Quicken Loans mortgage review could help save money.” You can also receive an invitation to obtain a free credit report and score from Quizzle and get a discount from Fathead, both of which are owned by Gilbert as well.

If you don’t get the billion dollars, Quicken is also offering $100,000 to the 20 highest-scoring imperfect brackets. The winners can do whatever they like with their winnings, but Quicken encourages the winners to “improve their housing situation.”

What’s the upshot for Quicken in all this?

Well, they’ve capped the entries at 15 million.

To enter the contest, you have to give Quicken (and Yahoo) your first and last name, physical address, e-mail address, date of birth, and answer a few questions. Those questions are: Do you currently own a home? Do you plan to purchase a home? What is your estimated current mortgage rate?

Each person that enters the contest can only enter one bracket so that’s theoretically 15 million new mortgage leads for Quicken. They’ve said they won’t contact the contest’s entrants unless they opt-in, but that’s certainly a large pool of potential customers. Plus it’s raised Quicken’s brand recognition by making the “billion-dollar bracket” the subject of water-cooler conversations all around the country.

The deadline to enter a bracket into the billion-dollar contest is by Wednesday, March 19, 2014.

In the interest of full disclosure, HousingWire entered a bracket into the contest. And we'll even share our picks once the tournament begins.

Don't worry, even when we win a billion dollars we'll still keep the day job.

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