2012 will include a lot of "firsts" for our fledgling company, and this year's Super Bowl was no exception. It was the first time we had data to evaluate the impact of a major event on the health of a city, in this case Indianapolis, Indiana. We wanted to know if drawing the attention of the United States' most watched sporting event also drew any unwanted attention, like from the germs of tourists traveling to see the big game.
To conduct our analysis, we selected a "control" city that shared enough in common with Indianapolis, but with one clear distinction: it was not a host of Super Bowl XLVI. We chose Dayton, Ohio due to its geographic and demographic similarities. What we discovered was a crescendo of sickness in Indianapolis on Super Bowl weekend. Meanwhile, Dayton barely felt a thing. See infographic:
Using our patent-pending algorithm, we collected over 3,000 public social media updates containing keywords related to Common Cold, Flu, Bronchitis, Sore Throat, Cough and Fever. These were distilled down to just over 650 qualified reports of illness over the course of 3 weeks in both cities. We began on January 22nd, approximately the time construction began on Super Bowl Village. Looking at our graph, you may notice that Dayton started off "sicker" than Indianapolis, but these tables quickly turned.
While we recognize that several factors could contribute to this rise in activity (eg, an influx of germy tourists, increased stress on local businesses, and/or more people complaining than usual), we hope that our study creates awareness of the hidden costs that hosting a major event can have on a city. Perhaps then cities and businesses can be better prepared for the increase in employee sick days that will follow.
Get well soon Indianapolis!
By Graham Dodge, CEO & Co-Founder