U.S. employers could pay a hefty price for the tens of millions of Americans set to watch and hold events for Super Bowl LIII on Sunday, according to a report by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
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The firm estimates that this year’s Super Bowl could cost companies $4.4 billion worth of employee productivity. That total includes a projected lost productivity of more than $2.5 billion from employees who call out of their shifts for Super Bowl-related absences, as well as further disruptions from workers who show up late or spend office hours discussing the game.
“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, the firm’s vice president, adding that the Los Angeles Rams’ appearance in this year’s game could be particularly disruptive in that region.
The report cites a 2018 Kronos survey that estimated 13.9 million Americans call out of work for the Monday after the Super Bowl. Challenger, Gray & Christmas based its calculations on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which showed that the average American working a private, non-firm job earned $948.06 per week.
The firm arrived at its $4.4 billion total by applying federal statistics on the employment-to-population ratio to the number of Americans expected to watch Super Bowl LIII. The Super Bowl has drawn more than 100 million viewers for each of the last nine years.
The Rams and the New England Patriots will face off in Super Bowl 53 on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET.