March Madness is set to begin this week, and what might be a great few weeks for sports fans is a terrible few weeks for business owners across the whole of America.
In no real surprise to any basketball fan or even general sports fan, March Madness is distracting when you are at work. If you are a sports fan you will get plenty distracted by March Madness during the next few weeks.
Expect work productivity across the US to be at an all-time low at points over the next few weeks as some 60 million full-time and casual sports fans keep an eye on their March Madness brackets, and how terribly they are doing.
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It is incredible that so many people across the country fill in a bracket even though we all know we are never going to win. Nonetheless, this desire to catch every bit of action from the NCAA tournament will cost businesses big, not just in terms of productivity but also in terms of money.
According to a study conducted on the matter - yes there really are people sad enough to actually figure out the cost of March Madness on businesses - it's believed the tournament will costs the US economy a massive $2 billion in terms of productivity lost.
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"An estimated 60 million Americans fill out a tournament bracket, and that will cause businesses to lose an estimated $2 billion, said John Challenger, CEO of global marketing firm Challenger Gray & Christmas," one report stated.
"Challenger's company estimates that figure stems from several things, such as the time employees spend filling out brackets, making office betting pools and watching games at work. According to Challenger, that number could be higher thanks to Big Blue Nation."
One of the favourites to win March Madness are Kentucky, and John Challenger claims that fans will be even more engrossed in March Madness because of Kentucky, as the team attempt to remain unbeaten throughout the whole season.
"That figure may be on the conservative side, considering this year could garner a lot more interest from even casual basketball fans eager to see if Kentucky can continue its undefeated season through the tournament," Challenger said.
"If Kentucky plays their first tournament game during the workday, it wouldn't be shocking if every single working person in the state called in sick for the day or took an extra-long lunch break."
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