No, the Super Bowl probably won’t cost employers billions

For many years, there have been reports of how major sporting events, including the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, will cost employers millions of dollars in lost productivity.

These numbers almost always come from Challenger, Gray, & Christmas, a Chicago-based executive outplacement firm, and their reports are frequently quoted in the media. Slatein 2006, quite definitely demystified their estimate that $3.8 billion in productivity would be lost due to that year’s March Madness tournament.

There were a few reasons to doubt those numbers, according to Slate. For one thing, only the first two days of the NCAA Tournament have games scheduled during the workday, with the remaining games all being played on nights and weekends and therefore not interfering with the traditional workday.

Moreover, as Slate says, “‘time wasted’ is built into every work day”, and the time workers took to fill in parentheses, talk about games, or sneak in to watch first-round games may very well have been wasted d ‘another way, as is every week, no matter where that particular week falls on the sports calendar.

“Workers regularly shop during office hours, take long coffee breaks, talk to friends on the phone, enjoy long lunches or chat around the water cooler. It’s likely that NCAA tournament fans are simply reallocating time to games that they usually lose elsewhere,” Slate said in the 2006 article.

And the Super Bowl?

Now, the same company’s reasoning has been applied to the Super Bowl. Even if, as always, the big match is played on a Sunday.

“This Year’s Super Bowl Could Cost Employers More Than $6.5 Billion in Lost Productivity the Monday After the Game, Says Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.”, Jess Golden, Sports Business Producer for CNBC , tweeted tuesday, five days before this year’s Super Bowl between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals. Patricia Cohen, a New York Times economy correspondingtweeted similar information on Tuesday, stating that “based on audience estimates, using employment-population [ratio] and applying the average hourly wage, this year’s Super Bowl could cost employers $6.5 billion.

Challenger, Gray and Christmas don’t appear to have issued a press release with these numbers, but they did. Release a blog post before last year’s Super Bowl, when his lost productivity figure was just under $6.1 billion. This figure was extrapolated from the Workforce Institute’s “2020 Super Bowl Fever” report. Surveyin which 17.5 million American workers said they planned to take the day off Monday after Super Bowl LIV.

The 2021 blog post stated that “interested workers will spend at least ten minutes each day leading up to the Super Bowl discussing the game, managing office pools, and/or researching both teams and their players.”

Just wasted time

But again, the time “wasted” doing this, in any other week, may very well have been wasted on something else. After all, there have been football games every weekend since September, leading to the same weekday activity – play, post-game talk or injury analysis – that happens before the Super Bowl. Maybe even more, since standard fantasy football is played during the regular season but not Super Bowl week.

Also, the 17.5 million number is from 2020. These numbers are from a pre-pandemic world, where work was very different than it is today, and far fewer people were working from home. than today. Whatever changes have been made to worker productivity over the past two years have likely been seismic, compared to the small difference caused by the Super Bowl this week.

And second, not everyone who responded to a survey saying they would take a specific day off necessarily went ahead and did.

After all, the Super Bowl doesn’t end so late at night – around 10 p.m. on the East Coast – and the big game doesn’t tend to be followed by late-night parties, except for one city every year. . who wins the championship. If the Bengals win their first Super Bowl on Sunday, you can probably expect a lack of worker productivity in the Cincinnati area on Monday. But it probably won’t be a large-scale phenomenon that’s repeated across the country.

Some other questions raised by all of this are perhaps more important: Why should someone who doesn’t own a business care about lost worker productivity? Isn’t paid vacation a good thing? Challenger, to his credit, in 2021 approved the idea of ​​the Monday after the Super Bowl being treated as a holiday.

Stephen Silver, technology editor for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who also contributes to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and connect today. Co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Picture: Reuters.

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