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Success is Something to Sneeze at: Influenza Mortality in Regions that Send Teams to the Super Bowl


  • Charles Stoecker

    () (Department of Global Health Management and Policy, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine)

  • Nicholas J. Sanders

    () (Department of Economics, College of William and Mary)

  • Alan Barreca

    () (Department of Economics, Tulane University)


Using county-level Vital Statistics of the United States data from 1974-2009, we employ a differences-in-differences framework comparing influenza mortality rates in Super Bowl-participating counties to non-participants. Having a local team in the Super Bowl causes an 18% increase in influenza deaths for the population over age 65, with evidence suggesting one mechanism is increased local socialization. Effects are most pronounced in years when the dominant influenza strain is more virulent, or when the Super Bowl occurs closer to the peak of influenza season. Mitigating influenza transmission at gatherings related to large spectator events could have substantial returns for public health.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles Stoecker & Nicholas J. Sanders & Alan Barreca, 2015. "Success is Something to Sneeze at: Influenza Mortality in Regions that Send Teams to the Super Bowl," Working Papers 1501, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1501

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2009.188029_5 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Coates, Dennis & Humphreys, Brad R., 2003. "The effect of professional sports on earnings and employment in the services and retail sectors in US cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 175-198, March.
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    More about this item


    influenza; externality; Super Bowl;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • R53 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Public Facility Location Analysis; Public Investment and Capital Stock

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