What does March Madness cost businesses? - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

What does March Madness cost businesses?

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It's a national obsession and it's as hot in the Carolinas as in other parts of the country. March Madness has bounced into our lives and our workplaces, and with TV, the internet, smartphones, and tablets, it's easier to watch than ever.

So what does that mean in the workplace, and does our madness actually cost us?

Challenger, Gray, and Christmas did a recent study that found that today and tomorrow, as the first two full days of the NCAA Tournament, will cost American companies $134 million in lost wages as 3 million workers say they will spend at least an hour of work time, watching basketball instead of working.

"I would say probably, I'm probably one of them, I don't know," said Howard Platt, Sports Director with AM 1490, WSTP radio.

Platt says it's true, people are obsessed with college basketball right now, and he can sum it up in one word...brackets.

This little chart has changed the way we watch the sport.

"It's competition with your buddies, you tell your buddies, hey I picked that one right, or my whole bracket blew out because Miami lost or something like that," Platt added.

Now that game between those teams you've never heard of actually means something to you. At Uncle Buck's today a lot of folks were sitting where they had a clear view of the TV.

"I think sometimes they'll try and stay a little longer," the restaurant manager told WBTV. "A they'll eat and try and watch the game and talk and just, get together, relax, good food, make that awesome food!"

So if some companies will suffer, others will perk up. Restaurants and bars draw good crowds for the games, and so do places like Ultimate Sports Apparel, after all, you have to look the part.

"For us it's going to be a good thing, your tams are in it so the excitement level increases and I think people just want to support their team," said Manager Justin Wells.

Wells says he thinks the popularity is more about the way college athletes play the game.

"I've always thought college sports in general were more genuine to . I've just always enjoyed watching college basketball, college football, I just enjoy it more."

Some companies are actually using the brackets as a motivational work contest by offering incentives that combine brackets with meeting work goals, that's a way to incorporate the madness instead of denying it.

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