The Super Bowl’s surge in ratings could cost U.S. companies $6.5 billion

February 14, 2022, 6:44 PM UTC

Welcome to the least productive workday of the year. 

About 36 million U.S. households, representing more than one in four U.S. homes, watched the Super Bowl this year, according to analysis by Samba TV, the leading global provider of omniscreen advertising and analytics. This year’s game, where the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, drew in 12% more households than last year’s, and it means about 25% of U.S. adults could also be feeling the effects of a late night filled with fried food and beer.

When you add plans for Valentine’s Day to those hangovers, employers should expect an equation for record lows in workplace productivity this Monday, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an executive outplacement company. Their analysis finds that this year’s Super Bowl could cost employers over $6.5 billion in lost productivity on Monday.

The day after the Super Bowl typically marks lows in productivity, but this year the Great Resignation and related labor shortage is empowering workers to lean into their post-party funk, said Andrew Challenger, senior vice president at Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“Average wages are high, in part due to companies’ desperately trying to hold on to their workers. Bars and restaurants are filling up again with patrons across the country, after a hard couple of years. The fact that the day after the Super Bowl also falls on Valentine’s Day is another shot at worker productivity,” he said. 

But, he noted, employers can also use this to their advantage. Showing leniency with their direct reports could aid in company loyalty and retention. 

“Employers can use the game as a way to make sure their remote teams stay engaged in an era when workers have their pick of jobs. Similarly, among in-person staff, especially with Valentine’s Day, giving workers extra breaks, or allowing them to come in a bit later or leave earlier when possible, will go a long way to building camaraderie and morale,” he added.

There have been pushes to make the Monday after the Super Bowl a national holiday, and 39% of employees believe it should be one, according to a 2021 Harris poll. Cincinnati Public Schools and Cincinnati-area school districts even canceled school the day after the game

But that’s an uphill battle, and there are other solutions. That same Harris poll found that nearly two-thirds of employees (64%) believe the NFL should move the Super Bowl to the Sunday night before Presidents’ Day in mid-February. That way, the day after the game would fall on a national holiday when many businesses in the U.S. are closed.

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