Does the World Cup kill productivity?

It's estimated hosting the World Cup is costing Brazil U$11 billion to host. But how much will it cost the rest of the world to watch it?

Watching the games instead of working

Fans of Brazil were at the Brazilian Star Bar & Grill mid-afternoon on a weekday. (David Donnelly/CBC)

It's estimated that hosting the World Cup will cost Brazil US$11 billion to host. But how much will it cost the rest of the world to watch it?

CBC's business correspondent Michael Hlinka spoke to Matt Galloway on Metro Morning about how much watching soccer detracts from productivity. He said in 2010, the World Cup cost US$7.36 billion in lost productivity, measured with a calculation of minutes-watched per day versus minutes-worked, over the 28 days of the tournament.

"You would think we would all be destitute in the developed world because all the entertainment," Hlinka said.

But the just because the World Cup is being watched at places of business, that shouldn't mean business is not being done. Hlinka said that there are ways for employers to capitalize on the World Cup.

He advised managers to make soccer games an event in the workplace. Pools, communal televisions for watching or events around the game helps bring colleagues together. If managers want more collaboration, the World Cup can stimulate conversations between employees in different jobs or departments who don't typically communicate.

"Most employees would want just a little give and take on events like the World Cup," he said. If they are given time off to watch a game during the day, they would most likely be willing to stay a little later Hlinka argued.

But even though this World Cup has games scheduled during the business day, it will be less of a workplace distraction than the previous tournament in South Africa.

"I think the time zone really does matter. If you're in a completely different time zone, and you're staying up till 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. and you're going to work the next morning to operate say heavy machinery, then there can be some kind of danger," said Hlinka.

The World Cup continues until July 13.