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How Much is Fantasy Football Costing Your Business?

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Chris Bibey

As a $1.5 billion industry, fantasy football continues to defy all odds. Year in and year out, its growth is astonishing. The emergence of sites like Draft Kings and Fan Duel have seemingly made it even more popular.

fantasy football costs more than $16 billion a season in lost productivity

There are people who only play fantasy sports on their own time. There are also those who bring this activity to work, realizing the fun associated with competing against coworkers. As a business owner, you may be concerned that it's more than just an occasional water cooler discussion topic, but rather an all day, every day obsession for employees.

According to a recent article by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), citing outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, "fantasy football costs more than $16 billion a season in lost productivity."

Despite the fact that $16 billion is a massive number, there are also benefits of allowing employees to play fantasy sports. For example, it is good for camaraderie and can serve as a team building activity.

More Statistics

According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA), more than 56 million Americans and Canadians will play fantasy sports this year. Of these people, approximately 37.5 million are employed full-time.

With numbers like these, it is easy to understand how lost productivity has become such a problem.

The Upside of Fantasy Football

Nobody can deny the fact that fantasy sports can eat into workplace productivity. But even companies that prohibit this activity still face an issue: they must find a way to enforce the ban.

Some employers have taken a unique stance. Rather than fight the flow, they are embracing the benefits of fantasy football. These include but are not limited to:

  • An opportunity for coworkers to build stronger relationships.
  • Using fantasy football as a refreshing break during an otherwise busy and stressful workday.

But Here is the Problem...

Even with these benefits, a referee is needed. If you give employees too much slack, productivity loss can eat away at the success of the company.

It is essential to set clear-cut rules in regards to fantasy sports, such as:

Final Thoughts

There are pros and cons of allowing employees to play fantasy football at work, but it's probably not going anywhere. You may even play the game with your own employees. In some ways, this might give you the opportunity to set the tone as to when it's appropriate to discuss your team.

Given the feverish participation of hardcore sports fans and casual observers, if you shut it down entirely, you may be facing a revolt.