WASHINGTON (CBS WASHINGTON) — Time is money when considering your ultimate fantasy football team at work.

An outplacement firm estimates that if fantasy football is made during the work day it could cost employers $6.5 billion in lost productivity.

Although acknowledging their study is “very rough” and “non-scientific,” outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas have calculated that if 22.3 million American workers spend one hour each week managing their fantasy team the cost to American employers in terms of waged paid to unproductive workers throughout the 15-week season would approach $6.5 billion.

According to the Denver Post, Challenger Chief Executive John Challenger noted that the estimate, “would not even register as a blip on the economic radar.”

“Employers will not see any impact on their bottom line and, for the most part, business will proceed as usual,” he said in a statement to the Post. “However, even if the economic impact is faint, it is important to acknowledge fantasy football’s overall impact as a societal and workplace phenomenon.”

Technology plays a complementary role to the rising popularity of fantasy football in the workplace.

The vast majority of leagues are played online, and players can now manage their teams using apps on smartphones, meaning it won’t just be office workers that are distracted with roster moves and trade proposals.

Another factor affecting workplace productivity is the league’s decision in 2006 to schedule Thursday night football games, as opposed to all-weekend games that could be prepared for later.

According to Challenger, here is how they reached the $6.5 billion figure:

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.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas are headquartered in Chicago.


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