Why there won’t be a Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge this year

There will be lawyers

Anyone hoping to parlay a perfect NCAA Tournament bracket into a billion dollars this year is out of luck. Hate to be one to break it to you, but there will be no Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge in 2015.

Quicken Loans created national pandemonium last year, when it partnered with Yahoo (YHOO) and Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A) to launch the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge.

To win the billion dollars, one simply needed to accurately predict the winners of all 63 games in the college men’s basketball tournament and beat the listed odds of 9,223,372,036,854,775,808:1- that’s more than 9 quintillion to one, by the way.

Given those astronomical odds, it wasn’t exactly surprising that no one won the billion.

And now with another iteration of the NCAA Tournament nigh upon us, millions of bracketeers will be Googling “billion dollar bracket” this week, but they won’t find their ticket to the luxurious life anywhere on the interwebs.

Instead, they’ll see reports that the billion dollar bracket challenge is dead.

The cause of death? Lawyers.

According to a report from CNN Money, the billion dollar bracket challenge is no more because the “light-hearted publicity stunt ultimately devolved into a series of lawsuits over who came up with the idea first.”

From the CNN Money report:

The squabbling started last year when a small sweepstakes company called SCA Promotions sued Yahoo for allegedly backing out of a deal to put on the perfect bracket contest.

Yahoo counter sued, alleging that SCA spilled the beans when it went to Berkshire to buy insurance that would pay $1 billion in the unlikely event that someone won the contest.

In February, Yahoo sent subpoenas to Berkshire seeking information about its dealings with SCA, including all communication between Buffett and SCA about the contest, according to court documents.

Berkshire responded by asking a judge to quash the subpoenas, which it called "overboard" and "unduly burdensome."

Quicken Loans appears to have escaped the legal brouhaha unscathed, but the lawsuits will keep the rest of us from telling ourselves that we can beat 9 quintillion to one odds to win a billion dollars.

HousingWire gave it a go last year and entered a bracket of our own.

Our strategy for winning Quicken’s billion was choosing the higher seeds in nearly every game. It wasn’t the most courageous but we tend focus on housing around here. The TVs in HousingWire’s newsroom are tuned to CNBC, not ESPN.

We tried to be logical, but our attempt failed miserably. If memory serves, our bracket was DOA before the first day’s games were over.

But we won’t have a chance to tempt the ludicrous odds again this year.

Instead of the billion dollar bracket, Yahoo is offering the chance to compete against celebrities in a bracket challenge.

So instead of a chance (albeit a microscopic one) at a billion dollars, you can tell your friends that your bracket is better than Chris Paul’s, Jeremy Piven’s, Alyssa Milano’s, Kevin Jonas’ or Katie Couric’s.

That’s cooler than a billion dollars, right?



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