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Fantasy Football Throws Worker Productivity for $6.5 Billion Loss

What are the most productivity-sapping sport events?

| BY Donald Liebenson

Are you ready for some “societal and workplace phenomenon?” That would be fantasy football, and an estimated 24.3 million Americans are fine-tuning their fantasy team rosters in preparation for the kickoff Wednesday of the NFL season. Some (certainly not you) are doing this during work hours.  But at what cost?

Chicago-based Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. tackled this question, and according to “a very rough, non-scientific, non-verifiable estimate,” if working American fantasy team owners spend one hour each week on the job managing their fantasy football team during the average 15-week season, the cost to the nation’s employers in terms of wages paid to unproductive workers could approach $6.5 million, the global outplacement firm estimates.

That figure is based on an estimated 22.3 million employees tackling their lineups and rosters for an hour each week over the course of the 15-week fantasy season. Multiply that time spent by the average hourly earnings of American workers – $19.33, as of the second quarter of this year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics– brings the weekly cost to $430.9 million, or $6.46 billion over the course of the season.

“It is important to realize that even if this figure was verifiable and accurate, it would not even register as a blip on the economic radar,” said Chief Executive Officer John A. Challenger, in a statement. “Employers will not see any impact on their bottom line and, for the most part, business will proceed as usual.”

Challenger views the increasingly popular fantasy football seasons as way for companies to nurture employee loyalty. Fantasy football marks its 50th anniversary this year. Its increasing popularity has surged with the growth of the Internet. It is played by about 75 percent of all fantasy sports participants, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, and according to market research cited by Challenger, players spend up to nine hours a week planning and strategizing for weekly matchups in 70 million free and paid leagues.

“Companies that not only allow workers to indulge in fantasy football, but actually encourage it by organizing company leagues are likely to see significant benefits in morale as well as productivity,” Challenger said.

Fantasy Football is one of nine of the Top Productivity-Sapping Sport Events (the 10th productivity procrastinator is Apple product announcements). Here is the rest of the roster:

·NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

About half of the first 32 games are played during work hours and can be accessed live online via streaming. You do the math.

·The Super Bowl 

Though played on Sunday, there is a Monday morning hangover into the workplace in which not only the game is discussed, but also which were the best and worst commercials.

·World Cup Soccer 

Not really on the radar of most Americans, but businesses in Europe and South America are known to shut down on the day of a big match.

·College Football Bowl Season 

Bowl games begin in mid-December and extends through the winter holiday season, when office productivity tends to be slower.

·Baseball Playoffs and World Series

·NHL Playoffs/Stanley Cup Finals 

·NBA Playoffs/Finals 

The biggest threat to productivity from these championship events comes from late night game watching on work nights.

·The Olympics 

No longer limited to prime time, Olympic events can be accessed from one’s desk via live streaming.

But fear not, employers. Whether achieving fantasy football league domination, doing some online shopping, or updating one’s Facebook page, taking an online break could actually boost productivity, according to a survey release last year by the National University of Singapore.



About the Author


Donald Liebenson

dliebenson@millionairecorner.com

Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.  

A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.