A survey by MSN showed 86% of employees will spend at least part of their workday checking in on the tournament, up from 81% last year.
And 56% of employees will devote at least one working hour to each of the first two days of March Madness.
With U.S. workers earning an average of $23.29 per hour, employers will lose roughly $175 million to distracted employees on just those two days, according to Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
In the past, the firm has found that in all more than $1 billion worth of productivity goes to waste during the entire March Madness tournament.
Of course, the tournament doesn't just lose money...
March Madness also makes it - a lot of it as it turns out.
March Madness Has More Green than the St. Patrick's Day ParadeThe most watched tournament in the country generates over 90% of the NCAA's entire operating revenue.
And it means even bigger business for CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) and Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX), which teamed up to pay $10.8 billion for the rights to broadcast the tournament through 2024.
While a 30-second spot during this year's Super Bowl cost a record $3.5 million, the 3.5 hour long program still only generated about $245 million of total ad revenue.
But with three Turner Networks sharing broadcast rights with CBS, the four channels took in $738 million in ad sales last year.
That's 20.2% more than in 2010, when the tourney brought in $613.8 million.
And that doesn't even include revenue from online advertisements on streaming games or a new smartphone app selling for the first time this year at a price of $3.99.
Online viewing has become extremely popular over the years, especially during the first two days of the tournament when multiple games take place during working hours.
In 2011, CBS and Time Warner said free digital viewing resulted in an average of 2.4 million daily unique visitors on broadband and 702,000 average daily unique users on the mobile app.
In total, there were 26.7 million visits across online and mobile from the start of the First Four on March 15 to the completion of the third round on March 20. That was a 63% increase over the year prior.
Meanwhile, online revenue from the tournament surged 825% from $4 million in 2006 to $37 million in 2010. There's no data available on how much it took in last year.
Then there's the gambling.