Experts: 50 million American workers will participate in office March Madness pools

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If you were filling out an NCAA bracket at work today, you were not alone.

According to employment experts Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.,  an estimated 50 million working Americans are expected to join office pools this year.

Between the time it takes to fill a bracket out and stream games during the workday, experts also anticipate about $3.9 billion in lost wages due to unproductive workers in the first week of the tournament.

"They kind of call it a national hooky day," says Carl Cagni, General Manager of AJ Gators Sports Bar and Grill in downtown Norfolk.

AJ Gators will have St. Patrick's Day specials on Thursday along with displaying the first round of March Madness games.

Buffalo Wild Wings staff say they also have tablets where customers can fill out brackets and compete nationally and against other staff for prizes.

"With games being on too, people like to go out and celebrate St. Patty's Day, we're a perfect place to come and do that," says Will Carroll, Manager of the downtown Norfolk Buffalo Wild Wings.

However, despite the likely inevitable decline in work productivity, Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. is not encouraging employers to block access to the games, but rather embrace them.

They suggest allowing game day apparel in the office and/or a work pool.

"Tonight is about getting the money in," says Tyshan Spence, who works at an accounting firm in Norfolk. "We have the whole floor staff, all the way up to marketing participating, good times!"

If you plan to fill out a bracket, be sure to join in on NewsChannel 3's bracket challenge contest by noon on Thursday.