With the average fantasy football player spending about nine hours a week on managing the team, Challenger, Gray and Christmas, an outplacement employment firm, figures that's costing companies about $6.5 billion as players use some of their work time for research.
"Undoubtedly they're going to be spending hours and hours in coming days on their drafts, on their rosters, on talking about their players as the games occur," says CEO John Challenger.
"Employers will not see any impact on their bottom line and, for the most part, business will proceed as usual. However, even if the economic impact is faint, it is important to acknowledge fantasy football's overall impact as a societal and workplace phenomenon. Companies that embrace the growing popularity of this activity could actually see a positive impact, particularly in terms of employee sentiment and loyalty. Those that try to squash employees' use of time and the company Internet for fantasy football could see consequences far worse than a few distracted workers," he noted.
A league in the workplace, or people talking about their teams, can create the morale and trust that's lacking at many companies, Challenger says, especially those with high turnover. He recommends that employers embrace it as a team building opportunity on the job.
How did the firm reach its estimate? It assumed that 8.2 percent of the 24.3 million fantasy football participants (as estimated by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association) are unemployed, leaving about 22.3 million employed team managers. The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that weekly earnings for all Americans in the second quarter averaged $773 or $19.33 per hour. Assuming on the conservative side that fantasy football participants spend one hour each week researching stats and tweaking their rosters, the firm multiplied the $19.33 figure by the 22.3 million employed participants. That results in a dollar amount of approximately $430.9 million each week in unproductive wages paid by employers to fantasy footballers. Multiply that by 15 weeks and the total reaches $6.46 billion.
(Photo by Chris Bennett)