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Commentary: Fantasy football sacks productivity

Julian Mininsohn, Sports Editor

Julian Mininsohn, Sports Editor

Fantasy football is not simply a hobby anymore. It is a sports in itself. It is a lifestyle. It is an obsession.

People spend countless hours preparing for their league drafts, studying which players to add to their team, and managing their teams throughout the NFL season.

All of it is to gain a competitive edge, and in some cases to win money.

The problem is not how the edge is gained, it is the employees who play fantasy football at work causing their employers to lose money due to a lack of sales productivity.

According to insideview.com, in 2010 an estimated 27 million people in the United States and Canada participated in fantasy football.

Each hour a player spends managing his or her team at work costs the company on average $5.

Each player spends an average of nine hours a week managing his or her team.

The company then loses $45 a week for 17 weeks for each of the 27 million fantasy footballers.

The numbers add up to $ 1.2 billion a week and approximately $20.7 billion a company loses from its employers playing fantasy football on the job.

That number increases annually. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

In 2011, 19 percent of full time U.S. workers are fantasy sports players.

As well in 2011, fantasy sports memberships leaped to 32 million players with 80 percent of them playing fantasy football.

In 2011, a survey taken at outpayment firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas showed that on a scale of one to ten, where one represented no influence on productivity, nearly 70 percent of the fantasy football players chose four or below.

Less than eight percent of players rated the distraction a seven or an eight, and none gave it a nine or 10.

While it did not seem that the Challenger, Gray and Christmas employees were distracted by fantasy football, it still costs the company some sort of dollar amount.

No matter how sizeable the dollar amount I am sure the companies can do without losing any money.

While fantasy football is the most popular, it is not the only fantasy sport’s game that affects work productivity.

For example, during the NCAA March Madness brackets at work are hidden with the simple push of a button.

It is a safety button for when your boss walks by it pops up with a blank Microsoft Excel sheet giving the illusion the employer is actually working.

Really, he or she is picking who wins between North Carolina and Minnesota.

The fantasy football effect is alive and real.

It even exists in the media.

ESPN airs segments in which analysts give fantasy football team owners tips on who should play and who should be benched each week.

Heck, even FX has a popular television sitcom which highlights the misadventures and triumphs of the fantasy football lifestyle between a group of friends.

No one can escape the wrath of fantasy football.

By the numbers, fantasy football causes a loss of productivity in the business world.

Fantasy football can be played, just not at work. No one should be making trade offers for a pro bowl running back when they should be checking expense reports.

Fantasy sports in general have become more of a distraction than leisure to employees of America.

Julian Mininsohn, a junior journalism major, is sports editor of the Campus Times. He can be reached by email at julian.mininsohn@laverne.edu.

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