Super Bowl-Related Distractions, Absences Could Cost Employers 4.4 Billion


With the New England Patriots facing the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl next 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.

Over 100 million Americans are expected to watch the game on Sunday, and many of those watching will take the following Monday off of work. Super Bowl-related absences could cost employers over $2.5 billion in lost productivity.

According to a survey from Kronos, an estimated 13.9 million Americans called off of work for Super Bowl Monday in 2018, and a similar number will likely call off this year. However, even those who do choose to go to work on Monday will likely face some sort of game-related distractions.

“If all of the workers who watch the Super Bowl spend just one hour of their work day discussing the game or come in one hour late, the productivity losses could hit $1.7 billion,” said Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

“This is on top of the $2.6 Billion in productivity losses from people choosing to stay home from work on Monday,” he added.

Challenger predicts many of those unplanned absences will occur in Los Angeles and New England territory.

“Especially with Los Angeles having their new team in the Super Bowl, win or lose, that market will likely see a lot of productivity loss after the game,” said Challenger.

The Los Angeles market alone has over 6.2 million employed workers with an average weekly wage of $1,177, according to the Los Angeles Area Economic Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If all those employed workers spend just 1 hour of unproductive time discussing the game on Monday, it could cost area employers over $212 million.

“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. In fact, Kraft Heinz gave some of their employees the day off after the Super Bowl last year. For companies that cannot be that generous, it’s best to use the game as a morale-building experience,” said Challenger.

“Employers should accept that people are going to spend some of that time Monday discussing big plays or best commercials. Consider allowing employees to come in a bit later and encourage fans to bring in left-overs from their Super Bowl parties and throw a potluck during lunch. Use this opportunity to increase morale and workplace satisfaction,” he added.

The productivity losses may seem extreme, but it is likely they won’t impact any individual company or the economy as a whole in a significant way.

“Consumers spend a lot of money celebrating large sporting events that give people an excuse to come together. This spending will stimulate the economy more than a few hours of lost productivity will actively hurt it,” said Challenger.

Super Bowl Productivity by the Numbers

  • Estimated Super Bowl viewers: 103.4 million Americans
    Based on 2018 viewership. This is down from 111.3 million in 2017. (7% decrease)
  • Percentage of employed viewers: 60.6% or 62,660,400 million
    Based on December employment-to-population ratio as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Average weekly earnings: $948.06


Average weekly earnings for all employees on private, non-farm payrolls in December are up from $919 in 2017. With Americans working an average of 34.5 hours per week, or 6.9 hours per day, in December, average weekly earnings break down to $27.48 per hour, or $4.58 every ten minutes (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

  • Estimated number of workers requesting Monday off: 13.9 million
    Based on 2018 Workforce Institute at Kronos poll.


In other words, employers lose an average of $4.58 per employee for every ten minutes of work time wasted discussing the Super Bowl, managing office pools, planning Super Bowl parties, etc.

  • Nationwide impact: $286.98 million for every ten minutes of unproductive work time ($4.58 X 62.66 million).
  • Super Bowl week impact: $1.722 billion, based on all workers coming in one hour late or wasting one hour on the game the Monday after the Super Bowl ($286.98 million X 6).
  • Super Bowl Monday impact: $2.64 billion, based on 6.9 hours of missed work (average weekly hours of (34.5/5) X $27.48 X 13.9 million).


Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.