March Madness Will Reportedly Cost Employers $17 Billion Dollars In Lost Productivity

Arkansas basketball march madness
Jamie Sabau/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

March Madness draws in millions of viewers each year for their 68 team college basketball tournament, and apparently that viewership comes at a cost to employers.

To put an exact number on it, $17.3 billion of workplace productivity is expected to be lost, which is apparently up by $1 billion dollars from last year.

The first two days of the NCAA tournament took place on Thursday and Friday of last week, and games are played overlapping (and back to back) to the point where there are 16 games spanning over a period of 12 hours, two days in a row.

That means that half of the 24 h

our day is filled with chaotic college basketball, and it starts pretty much at the beginning of the work day on Thursday and Friday each year. The lost productivity estimate was calculated by ChallengerGray, and also includes the amount of time spent researching and filling out brackets earlier in the week.

If you are more of a “video learner,” this brief coverage of the lost productivity on CNN explained it in a nerdy yet informative fashion (saying that might redundant, can you be nerdy and not informative?):

Are any of us really surprised by this?

Exciting, high stakes college basketball games are being broadcasted during the workday, yet employees are supposed to put their horse blinders on and spit out Excel Spreadsheets at the same rate they usually do?

This might be one of those examples where something is “studied” and the resources that it took to study it are a waste of time. Did we really need someone to look into this? I would’ve gladly taken the research on myself and saved ChallengerGray the trouble.

I simply would’ve looked at my own efficiency on those two days, multiplied it up however many people are in the American workforce, then thrown out a shocking number in the billions based on my rough estimate.

Plus, the number is an estimate, so if someone looks into it and says “well actually that number is wrong,” you can just say “yeah, look up the definition of estimate, I took a wild shot like I had to throw up a buzzer beater.”

I know I worked last Thursday and Friday and though I had my computer in front of me, the three television screens I had dedicated to three separate March Madness games held a majority of my attention. I hate that I struggled and cut corners in that “computer typing class” in middle school because I could’ve really used the no-look-typing-skill as I multitasked writing articles and watching basketball.

This tweet from BetMGM explains my feelings with incredible precision:

The first round of the NCAA tournament are two of the best days in all of sports each year.

The Super Bowl and the Nathan’s Hotdog Eating Contest barely edge it out, but it’s very close. I think we should all see that $17.3 Billion dollar productivity cost and shrug our shoulders like Michael Jordan after hitting a game winning shot.

So as shocking as that billion dollar number is (if that number is even true), I don’t think anyone is to blame for the whole thing. Remember, when you point your finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at you.

Employers shouldn’t be mad at employees, and employees shouldn’t be upset at employers.

Let’s all happily agree to leave the madness and upsets to the college basketball tournament that captivates the world every single year.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock