Workers Suit Up for March Madness

March Madness puts business professionals on the same team

(AP Photo)

March Madness is about to tip off, and office workers are getting in the game. 45% of US business professionals plan to watch the college basketball tournament this year, according to a recent Office Pulse survey.

Let the Games Begin – At Work

As the college basketball craze gets underway, professionals will be following the games from the couch to the cubicle. Nearly a quarter (24%) of business professionals plan to watch March Madness during work hours, with even greater tune-in expected among men (37%). Most professionals (53%) will show some restraint while watching, spending only an hour or less a day checking out the games. Some workers, however, will put their work responsibilities on the bench to keep up with the action on the court; 12% will watch the tournament for 3+ hours a day.

How much time will you spend watching the games at work?

Less than 30 minutes: 22%

30 minutes to 1 hour: 31%

1 to 2 hours: 33%

3+ hours: 12%


Minneapolis may be hosting the Final Four, but offices around the country will be hosting their own competitions around the watercooler. 23% of professionals said there will be a bracket/office pool for March Madness at their workplace this year; of those, 69% of professionals plan on participating with their co-workers.

Office Pool Participation

Both men and women will be well represented

of men say they’ll participate
of women say they’ll participate


While some professionals will be playing for bragging rights – or just trying to pick up some extra cash – most just want to have some fun with their colleagues. And that’s the common thread seen with the tournament each year: it gives workers a chance to bond with one another.


Why are you participating in an office pool?

To have fun with co-workers/boost morale
For the money!
I’m competitive


Managing the Madness

It can’t be all fun and games in every office, though. Some managers will blow the whistle on employees participating in March Madness activities while on the clock. A quarter of professionals have indicated that their employer has either banned office pools or blocked access to streaming sites.

Perhaps managers are right to be concerned, considering that March Madness viewing will result in a $604M loss in productivity this year, which is slightly lower than last year’s findings.

in lost productivity due to March Madness

Despite the dent in productivity, over half of managers (52%) said they approve of employees watching March Madness games during the work day, with many touting it as a positive team-building experience.

(It doesn’t hurt that 40% of senior management will be watching the games at work.)


Giving the A-OK

Here’s what managers had to say on the impact of March Madness at the office:

“Good for morale. Part of our company culture.”

“It’s important to people and it’s fun!”

“As long as it doesn’t get out of hand, it’s good for morale.”

“Great team building and fun”


March Madness affords professionals opportunities to come together at the office and share in their enthusiasm for the games, which can lead to big boosts in employee morale. Those benefits shouldn’t be overlooked by employers.

Other Insights Include

  • 61% of business professionals plan on spending less than $20 in their office pool
  • A third of professionals follow the March Madness scores online when they cannot watch the games live
  • 78% of Gen Xers said they will partake in an office pool.

The 2019 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament will begin on Tuesday, March 19. 

About Office Pulse

Office Pulse by Captivate offers marketers timely analysis and insights from a proprietary panel of upscale professionals in the top markets. The Office Pulse panel of more than 8,000 influential consumers and business decision makers includes C-level executives, Millennials, middle management, small business owners, working women and working moms.

About Captivate

Known for its vast network of nearly 12,000 elevator displays located in 1,600 premier office buildings across North America, Captivate connects advertisers with 13 million unique monthly viewers through creative, research-driven and Nielsen-measured advertising and marketing programs. By engaging its viewers with timely news and actionable information that helps balance the personal and professional demands of the workday, Captivate provides advertisers with a highly desirable and difficult-to-reach audience of affluent and influential business professionals. Founded in 1997, Captivate is owned by Generation Partners. For more information, please visit