Professional Sporting Events Increase Seasonal Influenza Mortality in US Cities

52 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2020

See all articles by Alexander Cardazzi

Alexander Cardazzi

West Virginia University - Department of Economics

Brad R. Humphreys

West Virginia University - Department of Economics

Jane E. Ruseski

West Virginia University

Brian Soebbing

University of Alberta-Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation

Nicholas Watanabe

University of South Carolina

Date Written: June 16, 2020

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic shut down sporting events worldwide. Local policy makers and league officials face important decisions about restarting play, especially in professional leagues that draw large numbers of spectators to games. We analyze the impact of professional sporting events on local seasonal influenza mortality to develop evidence that will help inform sports league reopening policy decisions. Results from a difference-in-differences model applied to data from a sample of US cities that gained new professional sports teams over the period 1962-2016 show that the presence of games in these cities increased local influenza mortality by between 4% and 24%, depending on sport, relative to cities with no professional sports teams and relative to mortality in those cities before a new team arrived. Influenza mortality fell in cities with teams in some years when work stoppages occurred in sports leagues. Sports league reopening policies should take into account the role played by sporting events in increasing local seasonal flu mortality.

Note: Funding: None to declare

Declaration of Interest: None to declare

Keywords: influenza mortality, sporting events, health policy

JEL Classification: I12, I18, D62, L83, Z28

Suggested Citation

Cardazzi, Alexander and Humphreys, Brad R. and Ruseski, Jane E. and Soebbing, Brian and Watanabe, Nicholas, Professional Sporting Events Increase Seasonal Influenza Mortality in US Cities (June 16, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3628649 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3628649

Alexander Cardazzi

West Virginia University - Department of Economics ( email )

Morgantown, WV 26506
United States

Brad R. Humphreys (Contact Author)

West Virginia University - Department of Economics ( email )

Morgantown, WV 26506
United States

Jane E. Ruseski

West Virginia University ( email )

PO Box 6025
Morgantown, WV 26506
United States

Brian Soebbing

University of Alberta-Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation

Edmonton, Alberta
Canada

Nicholas Watanabe

University of South Carolina ( email )

701 Main Street
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

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