NU Online News Service, March 11, 2004, 1:44 p.m. EST – Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Hartford, is organizing a college basketball forecasting contest for its employees.[@@]

Participating employees will predict how they think the teams in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship will do.

After the championship game, Hartford will include the top 5% of point earners in a random drawing. The winner will receive 2 tickets to either a first-round or second-round NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship game in 2005.

Hartford also will hold employee free-throw contests in its larger offices and host a free-throw championship at its headquarters April 3. Like the winner of the “bracket-picking” contest, the winner of the free-throw contest will get 2 tickets to a 2005 first-round or second-round NCAA Division I championship game.

Hartford notes that it is an NCAA corporate partner and that it refers to the championship brackets in a new mutual fund ad campaign.