Lost productivity from March Madness to cost estimated $192 million

March Madness can be costly to employers — to the tune of more than $192 million in lost worker productivity, according to one estimate.

Extra games and wider access to coverage of the NCAA men’s basketball championship on smart phones and tablets could increase workplace distractions during this year’s tournament, outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said Wednesday.

Challenger estimates that total online viewership during work hours is likely to reach at least 8.4 million hours. Multiply that figure by the average hourly earnings of $22.87 among private-sector workers and the financial impact exceeds $192 million, Challenger said.

But the CEO of the firm, John Challenger, put that number in perspective.

“At first glance, 8.4 million hours of lost productivity seems like it would deliver a crushing blow to the economy,” Challenger said in a statement. “Over the three weeks of the tournament, the nation’s 108 million workers will have logged more than 11 billion hours of work. The 8.4 million hours lost to March Madness is a relative drop in the bucket, accounting for less than one-tenth of one percent … of the total hours American workers will put in over the three weeks of the tournament.”

Still, he added, “if you ask department managers or IT staff whether March Madness has a noticeable effect on productivity, they are likely to answer in the affirmative.”

How would you answer?

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

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8 comments Add your comment

Jane Quatam

March 9th, 2011
11:47 am

Wonderful vector for spreading malware and virus – March Madness the knee jerk dance of the media drones who must be entertained by external stimuli 24×7 because their souls are deadened by the dystopian society.

Surely when the Chinese are properly equipped to do battle with our bloated armies, they will attack during March Madness, when all eyes are focused on the only thing that really matters, basketball.


March 9th, 2011
2:42 pm

Yes, but it’s returned in spades in higher morale the rest of the year. Let the games begin!


March 9th, 2011
7:50 pm

Private sector workers average over $47K per year? In what country?

March Madness, indeed

March 9th, 2011
10:03 pm

Jane Quatam, the first paragraph is from space, dudette.
The second paragraph is incredibly prescient.

[...] to a glorious month of working less, lying to your boss more, and praising God for salary work.  Welcome to your [...]

Joe Sports

March 10th, 2011
9:27 am

Go back to your D&D game Jane Quatam and leave the sports and business talk to the people who don’t believe in spells and warlocks

[...] recent Atlanta Journal Constitution blog post states that $192 million could be lost as a result of the distraction. But, as that post and most [...]

[...] The latest I saw from outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas put the number at $192 million for lost workplace productivity due to it. Others estimated somewhere in the $1-4 billion [...]