Super Bowl 2020 Could Cost Employers $5.1B

With the Kansas City Chiefs facing the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl this weekend, the impact of one of America’s favorite pastimes on productivity will certainly be felt in the office come Monday, according to an estimate from global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Challenger estimates this year’s Super Bowl could cost employers over $5.1 billion in lost productivity in the week leading up to the game, as well as from employees missing work on Monday.

According to a new survey conducted by The Workforce Institute at Kronos this year, 17.5 million Americans reported they were likely not going to work on the Monday after the Super Bowl. That is the highest number since the company began tracking this data in 2005. It surpasses the previous high tracked last year, when 17.2 million Americans reported they would likely skip work.

Additionally, the firm tracked 11.1 million Americans who reported they would come in late or leave early on the Monday after the Super Bowl.

“This year’s match-up might be a bit more interesting to NFL fans who do not live in or did not grow up in New England. The Patriots played in the Super Bowl four of the last six years, with 11 appearances in the franchise’s history. While clearly a successful franchise, football fans may enjoy watching two new teams face off next Sunday,” said Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

In fact, the Workforce Institute at Kronos survey found 67% of workers are happy New England is not in the Super Bowl this year.

The San Francisco 49ers have not appeared in the Super Bowl since 2013, when they lost to the Baltimore Ravens. The team has not won the Vince Lombardi Trophy since 1995, when they faced the San Diego Chargers.

Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs have not appeared in the Super Bowl in 50 years, when they beat the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.

Challenger used the Workforce Institute at Kronos figure of 17.5 million workers missing 6.86 hours of work on Monday, the average daily hours worked, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Multiplying this by the average hourly wage of $28.32 in December 2019 results in $3.4 billion in lost productivity. Add the 11.1 million workers coming in one hour late or leaving one hour early, with the average hourly wage, and that figure increases to $3.7 billion.

Challenger also estimates that interested workers will spend at least ten minutes each day leading up to the Super Bowl discussing the game, managing office pools, and researching the two teams and their players. With roughly 98.2 million Americans tuning into the game, based on 2019 Nielsen ratings, and applying the employment-population ratio of 61%, 59.9 million Americans will likely discuss the game each day for an estimated loss of $1.4 billion over the five days leading up to the game.

“Over the years, calls have been made to make Super Bowl Monday a national holiday, which would give fans time to decompress after the big game. Others have called for the game to be played the Sunday before Presidents’ Day. This year, a young fan started a petition to move the game to Saturday,” said Challenger.

Frankie Ruggeri, a New York high-schooler, started a petition on Change.org to get the game moved to Saturday night. Over 57,000 people have signed as of Monday afternoon.

“Until this happens, if it ever does, employers should accept that people are going to spend some of their time the Monday after the Super Bowl discussing big plays, halftime performances, or the best commercials. Consider allowing employees to come in a bit later, encourage fans to bring in leftovers from their Super Bowl parties and throw a potluck during lunch, or allow workers to wear fan apparel. Use this opportunity to increase morale and encourage camaraderie,” he added.

While the losses may seem extreme, it likely will not impact any individual company or the economy as a whole in a significant way.

“Consumer spending around the Super Bowl, including snacks, drinks, party favors, and fan clothing, will help the economy more than the workers who spend part of their day or the entire day Monday discussing and recovering from the game will hurt it,” said Challenger.

Super Bowl Productivity by the Numbers

  • Estimated employed Super Bowl viewers: 59.9 million Americans
    Based on 2019 viewership of 98.2 million, with the current employment-population ratio of 61% applied.
  • Estimated absences: 17.5 million
    Based on 2020 Workforce Institute at Kronos Survey.
  • Estimated number of workers coming in late or leaving early: 11.1 million
    Based on 2020 Workforce Institute at Kronos Survey.
  • Average hourly earnings: $28.32
    According to December 2019 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Average daily hours worked: 6.86 hours
    According to December 2019 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • In other words, employers lose an average of $4.72 per employee for every ten minutes of work time wasted discussing the Super Bowl, managing office pools, planning Super Bowl parties, etc.

  • Super Bowl Monday impact: $3,714,168,000
    based on 17.5 million workers missing the average daily hours worked (6.86 hours) at the average hourly wage ($28.32) + the 11.1 million workers missing one hour of work that day.
  • Super Bowl week impact: $1,413,687,200
    based on 59,902,000 million employed NFL viewers distracted for ten minutes each work day before the Super Bowl.
  • TOTAL IMPACT: $5,127,855,200
    (Super Bowl Monday impact + Super Bowl week impact).

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

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