As we all know the festival of many delights, also knows as the FIFA World Cup is well underway. The frenzy which surrounds this event has piqued the interest of many researchers/economists who are keen to measure just how costly this event is to economies and organisations.

Can we truly calculate the costs associated with the World Cup. Today in this Aspioneer Analysis we will try to answer this question. The truth is more complex than you can think.

Eyeballs glued to the screen

A picture of a TV with a football match on it | Aspioneer
People religiously watching the World Cup on their TVs | Aspioneer

So… Hmm… How many people are actually watching the World Cup? While calculations can wary, let us assume that 50 percent of the population is watching the World Cup. We shall also assume that working hours range from 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. Based on these assumptions we calculate that almost $15 billion in GDP worldwide might be lost in the first fourteen days of the tournament. The figure is truly staggering!

Now the story gets very interesting. Some researchers have concluded that watching soccer can affect a person’s happiness. This is especially true an hour before kickoff and up to three hours after the match ends. Another set of researchers conclude that a slight boost in happiness at work can enhance productivity by almost 12 percent. This means that when your dream team performs well, you perform better at the office. The sad thing is that when your team loses, the blow to morale and happiness is devastating. Consequently your productivity tanks. So how does this figure in our analysis.

Based on odds from bookies and by using these assumptions as a base we calculated how the outcome of a World Cup match would affect a worker’s productivity. While some might say that this is useless speculation, nonetheless analysing the cost of the World Cup tells us an interesting story. And believe us when we say it, it doesn’t look pretty from an economics perspective.

Match and Match

A Brazil fan with face make up | Aspioneer
Fans of Brazil, hoping their team crushes the competition | Aspioneer

Let us take the example of the match between Peru and France. This match is scheduled for 2:00 pm, French time. This means coming Thursday, fans of France will be working an hour before and after the game. Assuming that France will win this game, we calculated that fans of the French will be 4.5 percent more productive on that day, which translates to an increase in GDP by almost $350 million. Before you start doling out high fives to all your soccer friends, consider this. France will lose approximately $2 billion during the first two hours of the game. We don’t even want to speculate what will happen if France loses the game in form of a spectacular upset.

The case of Brazil also presents us with an curious example. When Brazil is slugging it out against Costa Rica or Serbia, the loss to productivity will be high. This is due to interruptions at work, which will happen when workers are glued to their screens. While Brazil is one of the countries to win the World Cup, their win will not compensate for all the productivity lost due to stress felt by Brazil’s fans during the World Cup. And God forbid, what if Brazil loses. Our analysis predict that productivity will be slashed by at least 14 percent few hours after the match.

Keeping your goalkeeper prepared

A goalkeeper making an effort to stop a goal | Aspioneer
Hold on, you can save it | Aspioneer

So what steps organisations and governments have taken in order to mitigate the unimaginable. At Aspioneer we were impressed the creative steps many governments have taken.

The Brazilian government has come with a great solution. They have declared that during the hours when their team competes, workers can change their working hours. During the first round, public organisations will allow their employees to leave early, if there is an afternoon game. Employees can also arrive late to the office when Brazil competes in the morning. Clearly the government thinks that this step is in keeping with the economics associated with the game.

Of course, only a country like Brazil can take this kind of step. They are kind of nuts when it comes to football (in a good way).

I am a boss, help me please!

An executive checking his smartphone | Aspioneer
Let me just check the score real quick. I will then work like a machine 😉 | Aspioneer

So what kind of advice would we would give to bosses. Well, you have various different options you can try. The most simple thing would be to just ignore the game and ask your team members to show up on time. Another option would be to open the doors to negotiation. Let your team stay at home and watch the game. In return you can ask them to make up for the lost productivity some other day.

While these techniques would minimize risks, consider the following. Turn on the TV at the workplace, grab some beer and watch the game with your employees. Sure, not much work will be done, but imagine how much this action will boost your image. The advantage you gain today will be immense and will surely greatly improve productivity in the future. In the eyes of your team, you will be the good boss, one who cares for his/her employees. If you ask us, we think this will be a win-win for all.

Unlike football. Then again watching the other team lose is half the fun 😉

On behalf of Aspioneer, I wish all soccer fans, best of luck. May your favourite team win 🙂

Sweet! Thanks for the reply my friend

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