Does March Madness Reduce Productivity?
It does, according to one report:
NCAA Betting Pools Costly for Companies (Florida Today)
A recent study by New York-based global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. estimated the three weeks of the tournament will end up draining $889.6 million from U.S. companies.
That’s because workers — including college basketball fanatics and casual participants in office betting pools — will spend an “inordinate amount” of time monitoring their favorite teams.
In 2003, Internet-monitoring software maker Websense Inc. estimated that college hoops fans spend about 90 minutes a week on college basketball Web sites during the tournament.
“That figure has the potential to jump significantly this year, as workers have the opportunity to watch games right from their desks,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Interesting, though hardly surprising.
The article also notes that office pools are illegal in various jurisdictions — a point that calls to mind a favorite personal story. One of my former associates used to organize a pretty large game, in which payouts exceeded the thousands. Suspecting that such an operation was in progress, his boss issued a reminder about gambling laws and ordered everything to be halted. He defied. Basically, he just kept the bracket under wraps and stuffed the cash in his desk. His boss never found out.
The employer? The District Attorney’s Office.
(Via The Sports Economist.)