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Warren Buffett: $1 million a year for life to employee who guesses Sweet 16

Warren Buffett: $1 million a year for life to employee who guesses Sweet 16
Posted at 10:26 AM, Feb 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-27 13:26:39-05

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- You can bet that plenty of Berkshire Hathaway employees will fill out the company's March Madness bracket this year.

That's because boss Warren Buffett said one employee could win $1 million a year for life if they correctly pick the teams that make it to the Sweet 16.

"If they can get to the Sweet 16, if there's only one of them, whoever it is, he or she gets a million dollars a year for the rest of their life," Warren Buffett said Monday on CNBC.

The Berkshire chairman and CEO said that even if no one wins the grand prize, he'll also award a $100,000 prize to whoever gets the furthest in guessing the winners in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament.

"Last year, we had two fellows that tied -- one of them knew a lot about basketball, the other didn't know anything about basketball -- but they each got $50,000 out of it," Buffett said.

The 2016 contest had 85,000 entries, and Buffett said he thinks they'll get over 100,000 this year. The company has 367,700 employees.

Buffett first started laying down big basketball bets in 2014, when he offered $1 billion to a winner who correctly guessed all 64 teams.

That year, the competition was open to the public and was held in partnership with Quicken Loans and Yahoo.

The partnership between the three companies eventually went bust when lawsuits arose over who had come up with the idea.

Since 2015, the competition has been held by Berkshire and offered only to employees. The prize also changed to $1 million a year for life and the winner only has to pick the Sweet 16 teams.

The odds are still against anyone who fills out a bracket, but Buffett said "it's not impossible -- and somebody's gonna win $100,000 or they'll divide it up."

Buffett said fans can follow the contest to see how employees are doing once the tournament begins by visiting the Berkshire website.