August 16, 2006

Fantasy football sacks real work production: study

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Office workers combing the league
waiver wire for running backs or back-up quarterbacks are part
of a growing number of fantasy football owners costing
employers as much as $1.1 billion a week in lost productivity,
according to a study released on Wednesday.

During the National Football League regular season, nearly
37 million people spend an average of 50 minutes a week at work
managing their fantasy teams comprised of real-life players
tallying points based on statistical performance, according to
outplacement consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Fantasy sports ranks with shopping on eBay Inc.'s Web
auction site and online poker as the biggest waste of
productivity at the workplace, said John Challenger, CEO of the
consulting firm.

However, Challenger encourages employers to embrace fantasy
sports in order to foster a sense of camaraderie in the

"The potential damage to morale and loyalty resulting from
a fantasy football ban could be far worse than the loss of
productivity caused by 10 minutes of online team management,"
said Challenger.

The study also cited a survey saying average fantasy sports
owners spend 34 minutes a day just thinking about their teams
and spend close to $500 a year on fantasy sports.

The 17-week NFL regular season kicks off on September 7 in
Pittsburgh, where the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers
will host the Miami Dolphins.