Super Bowl to Have Bigger Impact on Productivity This Year

Rather than considering it a negative, Andrew Challenger, with Challenger, Gray & Christmas, suggests employers use the opportunity to encourage camaraderie.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates this year’s Super Bowl could cost employers more than $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.

Challenger attributes this increase, in part, to a more interesting match-up. The New England Patriots played in the Super Bowl four of the last six years, and “fans may enjoy watching two new teams face off,” says Andrew Challenger, vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. Also, the San Francisco 49ers have not appeared in the Super Bowl since 2013, and the Kansas City Chiefs have not appeared in the Super Bowl in 50 years.

As for how it calculated the cost to employers, 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.

The company notes that a New York high-schooler, started a petition on to get the game moved to Saturday night, and more than 57,000 people have signed as of the afternoon of January 27.

“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,” Challenger says. He suggests employers can use this as an opportunity to increase morale and encourage camaraderie.