There's a study floating around from research company Challenger, Gray & Christmas that suggests that somewhere close to $1.5 billion worth of productivity is being lost each year because of fantasy football leagues.
The issue, says the report, is that workers are spending an inordinate amount of time researching football player statistics on the Web and consuming massive amounts of bandwidth in the process. There is a natural temptation to try and shut down or limit every activity that wastes time at work-watching Major League playoff and World Series games, the World Cup, March Madness and everything else.
But eTelemetry CEO Ermis Sfakiyanudis suggests it might be better to just monitor this activity and only step in when things are clearly getting out of control. eTelemetry makes a Metron appliance that allows IT organizations to easily discover who accessed which applications and sites on the Web and how much they consumed.
Sfakiyanudis suggests that if workers know that the IT folks can see what they are doing, that should be enough to curb the behavior.
Of course, $1.5 billion sounds like a lot of money. So maybe another approach would be for IT to help people accomplish what they need to do to participate in these leagues much faster so they can get back to work.
For example, Hetal Thaker, a product manager at IBM, is using the company's predictive analytics software to help sort through all the information she needs to participate in her fantasy football league. She's been playing fantasy football for about 11 years now, but has won three out of the last five years, thanks in part to her use of IBM text analytics software. Of course, not everybody has access to that kind of IBM software. But clearly IT has some value when it comes to fantasy football.
But like all things, whether it's accessing fantasy football sites on the Web or using enterprise applications to make your picks, some moderation is required. Otherwise, the powers that be will be calling some pretty stiff penalties of their own.