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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

WANT TO WIN A BILLION DOLLARS?

Ah, sorry, no more.  That was in 2014 when Warren Buffet offered $1 billion to anyone who predicted a perfect March Madness.  In the 21-year history of the ESPN bracket challenge, no one has gotten close.  The odds are somewhere between one to nine quintillion to about one to two billion.  

Now, only his employees (there are 377,00 or so) are eligible for the $2 million/year for the rest of your life to only predict the Sweet 16 teams, with Creighton being one of them.  No Creighton, only $1 million/year forever.  The University of Nebraska would have been okay, too, but they missed the Mad-64.  Both, and Berkshire Hathaway, are from the state of Nebraska.  

Incidentally, the cost of one BH  share?
  • 1980   less than $300
  • 1990               $7,000
  • 2000             $50,000
  • current        $310,000
In other words, if you had invested $300 in 1980, this share would today be worth $310,000.  Sure, $300 38 years ago has a 2018 value of about $1000, but that still means that this stock is worth 310 times more now compared to 1980.  Buffet this currently is the Forbes' third richest billionaire, to Jeff Bezos at #1 and Bill Gates at #2.

Back to the brackets, the chance of lucking out on Buffet's Sweet Sixteen is about one in a million, so he will pay off $100,000 to an employee who stays intact the longest.  Last year Dwayne Johnson predicted 31 of 32, and got the award.  Nope, that was not the Rock.  When he found out, the West Virginian Johnson checked his pulse a dozen times, worried about a stroke.  His eldest son asked for $40 and got a hundred.

Owning a share of BH stock doesn't mean you can participate.  However, like others, we can play on ESPN for free.  Put together up to 25 different brackets.  The value of the Grand Prize is a trip to Hawaii, just under $20,000, basically a vacation for two to the Maui Jim NCAA Basketball Invitational, especially valuable if you follow Arizona, Auburn, Duke, Gonzaga, Illinois, Iowa State, San Diego State and Xavier, teams coming to Maui this Fall.

THE DEADLINE IS THURSDAY, MARCH 15, AT NOON EST, or 7AM if you live in Hawaii.  I have completed three brackets.  Last year there were 18.8 million entries, with the average participant filing 2 or 3 brackets.  Eighteen last year actually picked the Sweet 16, at odds of one in a million.  According to ESPN, there is a one in 10 quadrillion chance of guessing a perfect bracket.  However, untlike the BH game, if you get this far, you still might not win anything.  Even the person who does the best will not necessarily be the winner.  The top 1% of entrants (that would be around 200,000 of you), will be be placed in a pool for that one Maui award.  Winning or not, what participating in this competition will do, certainly, will be to make every game you watch meaningful, for you will have a dog in every fight, a favorite in every game.

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