Girlfriends and wives of rabid football fans won't be the only ones to feel put out by the Super Bowl.
American employers will suffer productivity losses of more than $780-million (U.S.) in the week leading up to Sunday's football showdown between the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Seattle Seahawks, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.
The employment consultant and outplacement firm arrived at that tally by calculating what a ten-minute period during which workers waste time discussing Super Bowl plans and filling out office-poll pools, will cost the employer over the course of the five days.
“Employers should also count on losing another $156-million in unproductive wages on Monday,” said the firm's chief executive officer John Challenger, as football fanatics and bandwagon fans analyze the game, rate commercials or simply fail to show up because of post-Super Bowl party “illness.”
The report emphasizes that the impact of the lost productivity will go unnoticed in the overall U.S. economy and that the benefits of Super Bowl on the workplace far outweigh the negatives. “Common interest in one of the teams might bring together two employees who might never have interacted otherwise,” Mr. Challenger said.
There are also significant economic bonuses, especially for the host city of Detroit. The sporting extravaganza is expected to inject about $300-million in the local economy, which had the second-highest metropolitan unemployment rate in the country in November, after New Orleans.
The Challenger report said that Seattle fans could be the biggest on-line time wasters this week. Seattle is the most Internet-literate city in the country, according to a ranking by Central Connecticut State University.
Challenger's predictions are based on the assumption that 63 per cent of the estimated 90 million Americans expected to tune into Super Bowl are employed, which matches the national employment-to-population ratio.
Challenger calculates that for every 10 minutes the 56,700,000 employed Super Bowl fans spend at work chatting about the game or surfing the Net to compare starting line-ups, it would cost employers $155,925,000.