Hoops Fans Watching More Than Working During March Madness - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/16/06

Hoops Fans Watching More Than Working During March Madness

March Madness has arrived. These are the three biggest weekends of the year for basketball fans, and some of the worst days for employers. We found some folks playing hooky for hoops.

During the NCAA tournament, 64 teams are vying for one title and drawing millions of television watchers. "There's nothing more thrilling than the buzzer beaters and March Madness," said Doug Riccelli, watching the tourney at Coach's Corner in Thunderbolt. "It's great time as a sports fan."

But it's a bad time for many business owners. In the next 16 days, businesses are expected to lose $900 million in productivity, thanks to people watching the tournament. That's $55 million a day. Many of the devout Savannah hoops fans are at Coach's Corner keeping their eyes glued to the TV.

Denny Herb carries his brackets with him all day long. He says it's the closest thing to "work" he'll do. "I'm going to be in the office. I'm going to go there, ice down my beer, sit in the office until I decide to sneak out of there."

St. Patrick's Day may be tomorrow, but for Coach's Corner, this is Christmas. They get double their people, double their business. And it lasts for three whole weeks.

Because he's surrounded by televisions all day, folks think Coach's John Cox sees all the games. But he says the only people who see any games are the cooks, and that's from behind the grill through the window. "I never watch a game. Usually the people ask me a score and I say I don't know."

And as for business owners who are upset about tourney time affecting their business, Denny Herb has some advice. "They might as well sit back and relax, because no one is going to get any work done form now until the tournament's over."

Taking out any office TVs won't help. Workers can now watch the big dance on their computers. The first three rounds of the tournament are streamed live on the web for free at www.cbs.com.

Reported by: Andrew Davis, andrewdavis@wtoc.com

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