The cost of lost worker productivity for employers due to March Madness will reach an eye-popping amount this year, Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimated.
In the report released Tuesday, the global outplacement firm estimated that employers will see $17.3 billion in costs from lost productivity from workers distracted by college hoops. The figure accounts for employees doing things like brackets and watching games on the clock amid the more than two weeks’ worth of workdays in which the NCAA tournament coincides, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
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The cost estimate uses an average hourly earning of $33.09 and assumes some 76.9 million could allocate a certain amount of total work time to such activities, the outplacement firm said. It relies on findings from two surveys, one from 2018 and one from 2019.
Challenger, Gray & Christmas said 2023’s figure marks a $1 billion increase from the prior year – and a record-high.
Senior Vice President Andrew Challenger noted in a press release, however, that March Madness “is a great way to connect teams, especially in the world of fully remote and hybrid work.”
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“Creating events around March Madness, whether watching games or filling out brackets together with incentives for the winner, makes the workplace more exciting for both in-person and remote teams,” Challenger said.
The official start of March Madness took place earlier in the week, with the First Four games being played Tuesday and Wednesday for the men’s tournament and Wednesday and Thursday for the women’s, respectively. The first round for the respective competitions begins the day following the First Four games.
In the First Four for the men’s college basketball teams, Texas A&M, Pitt, Farleigh Dickinson University and Arizona State beat out their opponents, according to the NCAA.
Tens of millions of March Madness brackets get completed each year.
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For the 2023 men’s tournament, about 68 million Americans over the age of 18 have plans to put money on games, an American Gaming Association survey recently found. The amount of money all of those individuals intend to bet reportedly totals $15.5 billion.