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.)

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Sports
Robert Garcia Tagorda
About Robert Garcia Tagorda
Robert blogged prolifically at OTB from November 2004 to August 2005, when career demands took him in a different direction. He graduated summa cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and earned his Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.


  1. caltechgirl says:

    ROFL. Some of the biggest “poolers” I know are cops….

  2. tina says:

    That’s pretty good. At our office, one of the department managers has the tv turned on so we can get updates or just watch the game if our team is playing.

  3. Anderson says:

    “Productivity loss” stats like that are probably b.s. At any professional job, there’s a certain amount of down time. If workers weren’t fooling with NCAA pools, they’d be wasting their time some other way … who knows, maybe commenting on blogs.

  4. triticale says:

    I have known of some large manufacturing operations in several states which simply shut down for deer season.

  5. p says:

    Pure garbage … I wish fools would stop practicing these exericises of stupidity. Output is not simply a function of hours worked on some arbitrary clock. I’m positive that all work will be completed.

    A more compeling line of reasoning is that producticity will explode during March Madness. All work that must be completed will be completed despite people watching the games.