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Cancel the tournament

We all know, from various booster "studies," that the reason for building stadiums and the like is for the economic impact of having a sports team in town.

But if it's the economy that matters, consider the impact of March Madness on worker productivity:

A recent study by New York-based global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. estimated the three weeks of the tournament will end up draining $889.6 million from U.S. companies.

That's because workers -- including college basketball fanatics and casual participants in office betting pools -- will spend an "inordinate amount" of time monitoring their favorite teams.

And with advances in communications technology, it's only going to get worse:

In 2003, Internet-monitoring software maker Websense Inc. estimated that college hoops fans spend about 90 minutes a week on college basketball Web sites during the tournament.

"That figure has the potential to jump significantly this year, as workers have the opportunity to watch games right from their desks," said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

We must put a stop to this madness!

Hat tip: Yoni Cohen (a major source of wasted time).