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Mid-America Blog

March Madness

With the turning of the calendar to March, us Midwesterners automatically feel a sense of optimism regarding the coming months. Pitchers and catchers have reported to spring training, advertisements of the azaleas at Augusta National have commenced, clocks spring forward and we believe, although more often than not we're wrong, that we have made it through Mother Nature's harsh winter. However, there is one event that defines the month more than any other, the NCAA Tournament known to us all as March Madness.

On Sunday March 15th, 68 college basketball teams were selected to participate in the big dance. Employees across the country will be fully engaged in planning watch parties, researching teams, filling out their brackets and choosing teams for survivor pools. Employees will be streaming games and constantly checking scores, if they are even in the office at all. Productivity in the business world will be turned upside down for at least a couple days, but what is the actual effect?

In 2014, global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. published its “March Madness Report.” According to the report, American companies stand to lose at least $1.2 billion for every unproductive work hour during the first week of the tournament. A 2012 MSN survey indicated that 86% of respondents devote at least part of their workday to the tournament. The same survey found that 56% of workers planned to spend at least one hour on March Madness related activities. Another 16% of workers expect to spend five hours or more following the tournament. Despite the incredible interest in the tournament and perceived decline in production John Challenger comments, “At the end of the day, March Madness will not even register as a blip on the overall economy.”

March Madness provides the opportunity for industries and companies to take a break from the routine week and mix in some alternative quality time with customers, clients and colleagues. The retail real estate industry in Chicago has embraced March Madness thanks to local developer Newcastle Limited. The annual 3 on 3 tournament hosted by Newcastle is a phenomenal way to instigate competition among firms (as if we need that outside of our daily routine) and spend time with other brokers, owners, developers and lenders who we don’t see enough in a casual setting. The thirty team tournament is chalked full of washed up athletes who believe they’ve still “got it”. The Mid-America squad will attempt to reach the final game for the third consecutive year and hopes to again raise the trophy as they did in 2013. Following the play on the court, the participants and other industry employees meet at The Newport Bar and Grill in Lakeview to ease the pain of the day’s physical activity and enjoy the evening round of NCAA tournament games.

The Newcastle tournament is just one example of many parties and networking events that take place in Chicago throughout the tournament. Employers have identified March Madness as a potential drain on productivity and rather than clamping down on the workforce, many industries have found a way to benefit from its popularity. While we are not in the office banging out phone calls and rapidly typing emails, that isn’t to say that we can’t discuss terms of an LOI, sell a tenant on a site or uncover a new acquisition opportunity while watching the games. So grab your smart phone, clients, and your smack talk and go cheer on Middle Tennessee State as they attempt to send Duke home early.

Andrew Becker | Vice President
Mid-America Real Estate Corporation
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