March Madness and Productivity Loss

March Madness, three weeks of college basketball tournaments in the month of March, has been estimated to cost U.S. companies 3.8 billion dollars of lost productivity.

Various estimates and commentary:

There can be upsides to such an energizing event as well, of course. What I wonder is whether any learning or organizational development initiatives might be wrapped around such events. Imagine the following:

  1. Company intranet portal offers March Madness links, and also includes corporate advertising of key business initiatives, strategic messages, or even training opportunities.
  2. Maybe company even makes links unavailable except through this central march-madness portal.
  3. Managers initiate business-critical conversations in staff meetings after highlighting the latest results for the office pool.
  4. Managers utilize March Madness frenzy for reward and recognition.

Anyway, those are just some ideas off the top of my head. I’d love to get your more thoughtful ideas in the comments. Better yet, have you seen any real-world implementations? Have they been successful?