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A bracket busted by a first-day upset doesn’t need to ruin your March Madness experience.
A free bracket contest launched today by daily fantasy sports site FanDuel will give savvy fans a reason to follow along deep into the tournament. FanDuel Bracket Pick’em presented by SeatGeek will feature $25,000 in prizes without the need to select winners for every NCAA tournament game.
The concept of the contest is fairly simple. Fans need to choose the five teams they think will advance the farthest from the start of the tournament. The trick is that the sum of the teams’ seeds must add up to at least 20.
That means you can’t simply go full chalk and take four No. 1 seeds and a no. 2 seed. Players could choose four No. 1 seeds and a No. 16 seed, four No. 2 seeds and a No. 12 seed, and so on.
Like many bracket contests, scoring will favor teams that advance deeper into the tournament. Points will be awarded based on team seed and round. Wins by lower seeds and wins later in the tournament will be worth more points.
If you score 400 points, you get a free-play entry to a later contest. If you best 2,500 points, you get a share of $20,000. If you have the best score, you get $5,000.
FanDuel does not offer DFS for college contests, as many states’ laws prohibit them.
Bracket Pick’Em is far from the company’s first attempt to draw in players with non-traditional offerings.
“FanDuel is committed to innovation and ensuring that more users have winning experiences,” said Nik Bonaddio, FanDuel’s Head of Product. “It seems obvious, but we win when our users win.”
FanDuel launched Beat The Score in February, a twist on standard DFS scoring. The contest challenges players to beat a predetermined score set by FanDuel. Bracket Pick’Em will be based on this model.
The company launched an even simpler free contests this year based on bingo, both for the Super Bowl and the NBA All-Star Game. The game worked just like it sounds, as users try to fill their bingo card with random occurrences during All-Star Game activities.
Bracket Pick’em launched Thursday on FanDuel’s website and app. Users can start picking their brackets when the seeds are announced Sunday.
Players need to enter the contest and pick their five teams before first-round games begin on first game Thursday, March 15.