March Madness and the workplace


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – During spring thoughts often turn to sunshine and of course March Madness.

The brackets are set and the tournament has made a fast break into work places. The excitement will continue to build until the Championship Game, so just how distracting is the madness?

“Duke and Mercer that’s a tight game,” said Jordan Brown, a Fifth Third Employee, as he checked the score.

Inside Fifth Third Bank a bad case of basketball fever was going around the office.

“I love the Cinderella teams. I love the upsets. Everyone has a chance to make it to the final four, make it to that championship round,” said Brown.

The work computers put a halt on checking the score, but thanks to technology there are still ways for Brown to check in with his favorite team.

“Sometimes you get to sneak a little peak every once in a while in between customers.”

It’s estimated that 50 million Americans participate in bracket office pools, and companies stand to lose nearly $1.2 for every unproductive work hour.

“Especially if you have money in a pot it’s kind of a little bit more competitive, so you definitely want to see where you’re at,” Brown explained.

While March Madness can boost employee morale the boss makes sure work doesn’t sit on the sidelines.

“As long as our customers are being taken care of I’m really OK with a quick glance, checking your bracket, and seeing how things are going,” said Amber Hunt, Financial Center manager at Fifth Third Bank.

If businesses are losing local sports bars are winning, for them the work distraction means big bucks.

“You have a bunch of people especially for lunch. They stick around during the afternoon, take a little bit of time off from work, and it’s a good time of the year for us,” stated Mike Connolly, Co-Owner of Show-Me’s in Terre Haute.

For some that lunch break turns into dinner.

“With all the bragging rights from your friends, family, and co-workers sometimes it’s not a bad idea to sneak away,” explained Darrin Barton.

The question becomes, does missing work payoff?

“If you win your pool then it’s definitely worth it,” said Barton.

The Championship Game will be played on April 7th. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you confirm your email address and acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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