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Registration opens for Warren Buffett’s $1 billion bracket challenge

Mar 4, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT

As we inch closer to the 2014 NCAA Tournament, I’m sure you’ve had that email pop up in your inbox from that friend of yours that is just a little too anxious to get his March Madness pool going.

While you might be annoyed by an endless month-long email chain that would net you $80 in winnings, here’s a real challenge for all of you college basketball experts: Warren Buffett’s $1 billion perfect bracket challenge.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Buffett’s bracket challenge — run by Quicken Loans through Yahoo Sports — is now open for registration and if you finish with a perfect bracket, you’ll receive $1 billion dollars as a prize.

In addition to the perfect bracket prize — and the registration is limited to the first 15 million people — the top 20 brackets will receive a $100,000 prize.

But, be wary of entering Buffett’s challenge if you don’t like giving out loads of personal information. As the Los Angeles Times story notes, this is also a big marketing ploy for Quicken Loans and Yahoo.

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.

Still, if you think you’re up to the challenge of a perfect bracket, this would be the right contest to enter. Fans can enter here.

Buffett said he plans to make an “offer you can’t refuse” in the event that an entrant enters the Final Four with a perfect bracket.

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