Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. estimates that a single U.S. soccer team match in the World Cup could cost U.S. employers $390 million in lost wages as millions of on-the-clock workers tune in and zone out.
However, the Chicago outplacement and executive coaching firm said there’s not likely to be any real income lost as employees catch World Cup fever.
“Even if twice as many working Americans end up watching the game, it is unlikely that employers will actually see an impact on their bottom line,” said John Challenger, the company’s CEO. “Employees will simply make up that time somewhere else. Today’s ultra-portable and always-on technology allows people to work from anywhere at anytime. If anything, American’s World Cup fever will end up being a boost to the economy as workers head to bars, restaurants, and taverns to watch the game. All of that extra spending will more than offset any impact the game has on productivity.”
The firm estimates half of the 16 million people who viewed the U.S. team play Ghana earlier this month did so at work.
But rather than try to ban viewing, Mr. Challenger said employers might do better to embrace it and use it as a way to enhance morale.
The U.S. team’s next game is at 4 p.m. Tuesday.