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Report: Fantasy football season costs employers billions of dollars

A report from outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates fantasy football causes more than $13 billion in lost productivity.
By Evan Bleier   |   Aug. 15, 2014 at 12:53 PM

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CHICAGO, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- According to a new report, employers may lose billions during fantasy football season due to employees eschewing their responsibilities at work to focus on managing their fake teams.

Outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas reports the hours that millions of fantasy football players spend analyzing their teams and checking stats could cost their bosses more than $13 billion in lost productivity.

"We are not trying to demonize fantasy football," CEO John A. Challenger said in a statement to the Chicago Tribune. "It is important to understand that there are more distractions than ever in today's workplace. If it's not fantasy football, it's the latest Hollywood gossip, shopping on Amazon, or checking Facebook."

Although that may be true, there is certainly no shortage of fantasy sports websites, as well as traditional sports outlets like ESPN and Sports Illustrated, to capture the attention of fantasy football fanatics.

Challenger called fantasy football a "massively popular phenomenon that cannot be ignored" and noted that it is popular enough at some workplaces to actually slow down a company's Internet speed.

In their analysis, the firm estimated that employed participants spend two hours a week looking at fantasy sports while they are at work during the 15-week fantasy football season.

Despite the potential revenue loss, Challenger recommends letting employees play on.

"An across-the-board ban on all fantasy football or sports websites is likely to backfire and cause a drop in morale, loyalty and, ironically, productivity," Challenger said. "The end result could be far worse than any loss of productivity caused by an hour or two of team management each week."

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