Employees of Berkshire Hathaway could win a life-changing windfall should they be able to correctly predict the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
March Madness bracket pools are commonplace at businesses across the country when the NCAA Tournament rolls around every year. But chances are no contest comes close to the stakes at Berkshire Hathaway.
Warren Buffett, a longtime basketball fan and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, has had the most spectacular bracket pool in the country since 2014. That first year, he opened up the challenge to the public, offering $1 billion to any college basketball fan that could deliver the perfect bracket.
This year, the contest is just for employees, but the prize is more attainable than ever — if any one of Berkshire Hathaway's more than 300,000 employees is able to perfectly predict the teams that will make it to the Sweet 16, they'll win $1 million a year for life.
Additionally, if a team from Buffett's native Nebraska ends up winning the entire tournament, the prize will be doubled to $2 million a year for life. (The likelihood of the double-digit seed Creighton Bluejays taking home the NCAA title is quite low, however.)
Even if Buffett's employees miss out on the prize for a perfect Sweet 16, there's still plenty to play for — the employee whose bracket lasts the longest will win $100,000 for their effort. Last year, a West Virginia steel worker named Dwayne Johnson correctly picked 31 of the first 32 games to take home the prize. He was just one game away from the million for life.
While picking a perfect Sweet 16 might not seem all that difficult, the odds certainly aren't in employees favor — according to CNBC, last year, of the 18.8 million brackets filled out on ESPN, just 18 people picked a perfect Sweet 16.
In the four years that Buffett has run his contest, no one has yet to capture his elusive grand prize.