March Madness Stocks: Will Buffett’s Billion Dollar Bet Pay Off?

March Madness Stocks: Will Buffett’s Billion Dollar Bet Pay Off?

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Rather than try and guess which teams will win the tournament, we decided to look for March Madness stocks. 

Warren Buffett feels pretty good about his $1 billion bet that no one will be able to make a perfect March Madness bracket. For one, the odds of a non-expert getting all the picks right is about 9.1 quintillion-to-one, according to ESPN

What's more, there's a good chance he'll still come out ahead, even if someone does get the big pay-out. Buffett agreed to personally underwrite the policy for Quicken Loans, the company which is officially holding the contest. While he won't reveal how much he charged, Quicken has already generated an estimated 15 million sales leads. 

You can't really buy that kind of advertising. 

The stunt is also drumming up a lot of cheap publicity for many of Buffett's other endeavors. There's IBM (IBM), in which Buffett took a sizeable stake last year, who is currently running the bracket challenge's back end. 

And there's also The Coca Cola Company (KO) — one of the biggest sponsors of the NCAA's tournament — of which Buffett is the largest shareholder. March Madness is huge – raking in almost as much TV ad revenue as the World Series, the NBA finals, and the Stanley Cup combined

That's a bit of a skewed statistic, as March Madness features more than 40 teams while those three events all feature 2, and don't last nearly as long. Still, March Madness is a huge revenue generator, unless you're a player.

Warren Buffet is a pretty cautious guy. You don't build a $53 billion fortune by making billion dollar bets you might lose. We decided to build a list of NCAA sponsors to see who else is generating big returns off college basketball.

Will an exciting tournament move the needle for these companies? Use the list below to start your analysis. 

Click on the interactive chart to view data over time. 

1. AT&T, Inc. (T, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Provides telecommunication services to consumers, businesses, and other service providers worldwide. Market cap at $168.70B, most recent closing price at $32.38.



2. The Coca-Cola Company (KO, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Distributes, and markets nonalcoholic beverages worldwide. Market cap at $168.72B, most recent closing price at $38.47.




3. Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. (BWLD, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Engages in the ownership, operation, and franchise of restaurants in the United States. Market cap at $2.81B, most recent closing price at $149.37.




4. Capital One Financial Corp. (COF, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Operates as the bank holding company for the Capital One Bank (USA), National Association and Capital One, National Association, which provide various financial products and services in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Market cap at $42.10B, most recent closing price at $74.19.




5. The Allstate Corporation (ALL, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Engages in the personal property and casualty insurance, life insurance, retirement, and investment products businesses primarily in the United States. Market cap at $24.77B, most recent closing price at $55.49.




6. Mondelez International, Inc. (MDLZ, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Manufactures and markets snack food and beverage products worldwide. Market cap at $59.23B, most recent closing price at $34.90.




7. Unilever plc (UL, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Provides fast-moving consumer goods in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Market cap at $112.30B, most recent closing price at $39.62.


(List compiled by James Dennin. Monthly returns sourced from Zacks Investment Research, market cap and closing price data sourced from Yahoo! Finance.)


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