07/01/2014 02:33 pm ET Updated Jul 01, 2014

This Is How Much The World Cup Is Costing American Businesses


Americans have World Cup fever, and it's getting pretty costly.

Tuesday's U.S. vs. Belgium match at 4 p.m. EST will likely strike a pricey blow to the nation's productivity. Whether streaming the game on laptops, sneaking out to sports bar or watching muted TVs at work, millions of Americans are expected to check out of their day jobs and tune in to the game.

Based on figures from the U.S. vs. Germany match on June 26, nearly 20 million Americans took a break from work to watch the game; 14 million of those viewers have jobs earning an average of $24.38, which equates to a rough estimate of $682 million worth of lost worker productivity, according to numbers crunched by Yahoo! Finance.

Official viewership totals for Tuesday's match against Belgium will be reported Wednesday, but Forbes estimates between 13 and 16 million people will watch.

Worldwide, 2014 World Cup viewership is expected to surpass the 2010 World Cup's 3.2 billion viewers.

But some think futbol fever in the workplace can end up being a plus for businesses. Educational technology company Imagine Easy Solutions told Forbes that watching games boosts company morale and increases connectivity across the office.

“The energy around the office is awesome; everyone feels more connected to their co-workers and the products we work together on. It’s made a big difference,” a product marketing manager at Imagine told Forbes.

In some cases, workers have been encouraged to take a break to watch the U.S. team's matches. On June 26, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gave state workers an extended lunch break so they could watch the U.S. vs. Germany game.

And just in case your boss asks for a note about why you have to skip out on work for a game, U.S. team coach Jürgen Klinsmann has got you covered: