World Cup Forecast to Cost $10 Billion in Lost Productivity

      June 17, 2010 11:02

      Schools canceled classes and banks and other businesses closed at 2 p.m. on Tuesday (local time), an hour and a half before the World Cup match between Brazil and North Korea. Much of the country simply shut down to watch the game -- a scene that will be repeated throughout the tournament whenever the Brazilian national squad is on the pitch.

      Willem Smit, a research at Switzerland's International Institute for Management Development, estimates that the 2010 World Cup will cost the global economy some US$10.4 billion in lost productivity if at least half of the workforce in contending countries watch their national teams play during work hours.

      A North Korean and a Brazilian root for their national football teams, putting their arms around each other's shoulders. /AP-Yonhap

      By country, Germany and Mexico top the list with $1.7 billion each in expected lost production time, followed by Brazil with $1.2 billion and Argentina with $485 million. With around one billion people forecast to watch the games worldwide, the actual losses could soar much higher, Smit said.

      But other experts claim that the lost productivity will be offset by tangible and intangible benefits, including a surge in sales of World Cup-related items and lifted morale in the workforce.

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