Success is Something to Sneeze At: Influenza Mortality in Cities that Participate in the Super Bowl
Stoecker, Charles, Nicholas Sanders, & Alan Barreca
American Journal of Health Economics | 2016 | 2(1): 125–143
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.