Fantasy Football is immensely popular in the United States. Everybody and their mother plays the NFL-related game. With more access and information than ever to all things fantasy, it’s really no surprise that an estimated 31 million working-age Americans participate.
But according to a report in the Chicago Tribune, those fantasy-playing, ‘hard-working’ Americans are costing their employers billions. $13.4 billion per season, to be exact.
Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based global outplacement and career transitioning firm, came up with that number based on this formula: average hourly earnings of workers on private nonfarm payrolls ($24.45) + the estimated number of employed Fantasy sports participants (18.3 million) + a conservative estimate of each employee spending two hours per week on fantasy while at work = $13.4 billon over the 15-week fantasy football schedule.
Clearly, the real number could be higher or lower than $13.4 billion, but the point is that some companies are losing big money because of FF. However, CG&C is not trying to vilify FF.
“We are not trying to demonize fantasy football. It is important to understand that there are more distractions than ever in today’s workplace. If it’s not fantasy football, it’s the latest Hollywood gossip, shopping on Amazon, or checking Facebook… An across-the-board ban on all fantasy football or sports websites is likely to backfire and cause a drop in morale, loyalty and, ironically, productivity. The end result could be far worse than any loss of productivity caused by an hour or two of team management each week,” said CG&C CEO John Challenger.
Even though Challenger and his company aren’t trying to give FF a bad name, they’ve likely got a lot of bosses’ attention. When companies hear that their employees are costing them thousands, millions and possibly billions of dollars, they’re going to at least discuss possible action plans to stop valuable on-the-clock time from being wasted.
But with so many people playing FF, from the bosses on down, it’s unlikely that we’ll hear of massive workplace bans anytime soon.