Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sports and Road Rage

The Bad Thing about Good Games: The Relationship between Close Sporting Events and Game-Day Traffic Fatalities

Stacy Wood, Melayne Morgan McInnes & David Norton
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract: For sports fans, great games are the close ones — those between evenly-matched opponents where the game remains undecided until the very end. However, the dark-side to sporting events is the incidence of traffic fatalities due to game- related drinking. Here, the authors ask whether the closeness of the game impacts the number of fatalities that occur. Two opposing predictions can be made. Games that are not close (“blow-outs”) may be less engaging, thus increasing drinking. Alternatively, close games may be more dangerous, increasing competition-associated testosterone that spills over into aggressive driving. An analysis of major sporting events (2001-2008) shows that closer games are significantly correlated with more fatalities. Importantly, increased fatalities are observed only in locations with winning fans (game-site and/or winners’ hometown) congruent with a testosterone- based account. Ultimately, this finding has material consequences for public welfare on game-days and suggests one silver-lining for losing fans may be a safer drive home.

(nod to Kevin Lewis)


doclawson said...

Too lazy to read the paper, but my immediate reaction is this is bullpucky.

People stay in the stadium all the way to the end of the game during close games. Then people rush for their cars at the same time causing much bigger traffic problems.

Blowouts in contrast result in people leaving the stadium over a longer period of time with fewer issues.

Hire Joe Morgan said...

The conclusion fascinates me:

Ultimately, this finding has material consequences for public welfare on game-days

Put more traffic cops on duty for games where the betting spread is close? Have stadium ushers kick the winning team's fans in the nuts on their way out of the stadium, to offset their testosterone high? Fix games?