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Forget the narrow defeat suffered by the U.S. men’s swim team in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay over the weekend. Or that Jordyn Wieber, America’s best hope for all-around gold in female gymnastics, failed to even qualify for the event.

When it comes to this Summer Olympics in London, the real loss may be felt much closer to home.

Productivity experts are predicting that this year’s games could result in a summer slowdown perhaps unlike any other in history, with millions of American workers devoting portions of their day to track and field instead of, say, tracking customer orders. The wasted time could result in a $650 million hit for U.S. companies, according to an estimate by Captivate Network, a digital media company.

RELATED: Olympics to Test Mobile's Mettle

Much of that loss will come from employees watching games during work hours on their computers or mobile devices. Some 12% of American workers said they plan on viewing the Olympics at the office, according to a survey commissioned by Captivate. A similar survey by Yahoo! Sports showed a figure as high as 43%. In addition, Yahoo! Sports found that 25% of workers planned to leave early to follow the games.

Either way, it amounts to a lot of goofing off. Compounding the problem for businesses: viewing by streaming — NBC is making all the events available over its streaming channel — taxes office networks by using up valuable bandwidth. In other words, even if workers aren’t opting to watch the preliminary rounds of Olympic badminton, their computers may be running slower because of the badminton buffs sitting next to them.

RELATED: 10 Things the Olympics Won't Tell You

“It brings us back to the age-old question, ‘Why is the network so slow today?’” says Jim Melvin, chief executive officer of AppNeta, which specializes in helping companies monitor their networks. And when you add the slowdown situation to the mix, the Olympic hit becomes all the larger for companies. “I would say this is a billion-dollar event,” adds Melvin.

The productivity issue, of course, has come up before with sporting events. The NCAA men’s basketball championship — aka March Madness — is a frequently cited example (this year’s estimated hit to businesses: $175 million — for just the first two days of the tournament). Several analysts have also found fault with so-called productivity surveys, and warn against reading too much into calculations drawn from them.

RELATED: Is Olympic Network a Gold Medal Stock?

But experts say the Olympics is in its own category — not only because it’s an event of global significance, but also because this year’s games are being held in a time zone that’s most conducive to daytime viewing in America. And regardless of what you make of these productivity surveys, the ability to easily stream the events, something not possible as recently as four years ago, raises the potential for more slacking on the job.

For business owners, minding the Olympic-viewing habits of their employees too closely may be a mistake, says John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a leading outplacement firm. Instead, they should recognize that many of today’s workers are plenty productive when not at their cubicle, whether it’s checking emails on the run or completing projects at home. “If employees don’t get it done now, they’ll get it done later,” Challenger says.

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  • London Olympic Games - Day 0

    Team GB, led by flagbearer Sir Chris Hoy, enter the stadium during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • 2012 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Chris Hoy of the Great Britain Olympic cycling team carries his country's flag during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

  • London Olympic Games - Day 0

    Great Britain's Chris Hoy carries the flag during the Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London

    Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London

  • Actors playing nurses perform during the

    Actors playing nurses perform during the Great Ormond Street Hospital scene during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic Stadium in London. AFP PHOTO / JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages)

  • London Olympic Games - Day 0

    Performers during the Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Olympic Games - Day 0

    A scene during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Olympic Games - Day 0

    The Olympic Rings during the Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Olympic Games - Day 0

    A scene during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • Aerial view shows the people parachuting

    Aerial view shows the people parachuting (upper L) above the Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/GettyImages)

  • PICTURE TAKEN WITH A ROBOTIC CAMERA Acto

    PICTURE TAKEN WITH A ROBOTIC CAMERA Actors wait for the beginning of the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, 2012. AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS-XAVIER MARIT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT/AFP/GettyImages)

  • 2012 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Performers depict a traditional view of the English countryside during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

  • 2012 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Performers depict a traditional view of the English countryside during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

  • 2012 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Frank Turner performs during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

  • Actors wait for the beginning of the ope

    Actors wait for the beginning of the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, 2012. AFP PHOTO / SAEED KHAN (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/GettyImages)

  • 2012 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Performers depict a traditional view of the English countryside during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

  • 2012 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Performers depict a traditional view of the English countryside during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

  • PICTURE TAKEN WITH A ROBOTIC CAMERA Acto

    PICTURE TAKEN WITH A ROBOTIC CAMERA Actors wait for the beginning of the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, 2012. AFP PHOTO / ANTONIN THUILLIER (Photo credit should read ANTONIN THUILLIER/AFP/GettyImages)

  • London Olympic Games - Day 0

    Sheep graze during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Olympic Games - Day 0

    The scene during the pre-show before the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Olympic Games - Day 0

    A game of cricket is played by performers during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • An actor tends sheep during the pre-show prior to the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

  • 2012 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Guitarist Frank Turner performs during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

  • 2012 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Cricketers play cricket on the pitch during the preshow prior to the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

  • Actors stand under the rain during the B

    Actors stand under the rain during the British meadow scene prior the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/GettyImages)

  • London Olympic Games - Day 0

    Danny Boyle speaks during the Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • An actor walks during the British meadow

    An actor walks during the British meadow scene prior the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Actors play cricket during the British m

    Actors play cricket during the British meadow scene prior the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/GettyImages)

  • London Olympic Games - Day 0

    The scene during the pre-show before the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Olympic Games - Day 0

    The scene during the pre-show before the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Olympic Games - Day 0

    Fans shelter from the rain during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • Britain's Prince Charles, left, and his wife Camila, Duchess of Cornwall arrive for the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • London Olympic Games - Day 0

    Industrial workers in a scene during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Olympic Games - Day 0

    Industrial workers in a scene during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • An actor dressed to resemble Britain's Q

    An actor dressed to resemble Britain's Queen Elizabeth II parachutes from a helicopter over the stadium during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, 2012. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/GettyImages)

  • 2012 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Giant puppets depict villainous characters from British literature during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

  • Actors playing nurses attend to children

    Actors playing nurses attend to children in hospital beds during the Great Ormond Street Hospital scene in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, 2012. AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE SIMON (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Actors and dancers play Great Ormond Str

    Actors and dancers play Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital staff and patients during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • 2012 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: A general view of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

  • 2012 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Performers depict a view of the Industrial Revolution during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • London Olympic Games - Day 0

    Sir Kenneth Brannagh recites Shakespeare during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • 2012 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: David Beckham passes under Tower Bridge driving a speedboat named 'Max Power' which carries the Olympic Torch with its torchbearer on July 27, 2012 in London, England. Athletes, heads of state and dignitaries from around the world have gathered in the Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony of the 30th Olympiad. London plays host to the 2012 Olympic Games which will see 26 sports contested by 10,500 athletes over 17 days of competition. (Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)

  • 2012 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Children representing the Great Ormond Street Hospital, the NHS and children literature take part in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London

    Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London

  • Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London

    Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London

  • Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London

    Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London

  • Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London

    Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London

  • Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London

    Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London

  • Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London

    Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London

  • Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London

    Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London

  • London Olympic Games

    The history of Great Britain played during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.