Eat, Shop, Pray: What Location Data Tells Us About What Football Fans Did During the Super Bowl

February 27, 2018

We wondered what people were doing while the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots battled it out during Super Bowl LII. Where did US consumers go and what did they do while the big game was underway?

We decided to look at consumer behavior during game time across the US, and in the three ‘Super Bowl cities’ – Minneapolis, Boston and Philadelphia. We wanted to see how behaviors compared across the host city, teams’ hometowns, and for consumers nationwide. Here’s what we learned:

Eagles Super Bowl Fan Reactions
1. The Super Bowl is Stressful?

Interesting behavioral data suggests that consumers in each city handled stress very differently during the game.

Those in Boston connected with nature with a visit to a park or outdoor monument. In contrast, folks in Minneapolis were most likely to relax with a massage or burn off nervous energy with a workout. And – perhaps as evidence of a higher power at work – mobile consumers in Philadelphia were 2.5x more likely than the average US consumer to visit church during the game.

Super Bowl Stress Relief Chart
2. The Super Bowl is a Social Event, Even When You’re Not a Fan.

Smartphone-toting fans in Minneapolis went to the actual game, of course; but, in all three cities, they were more active on Super Bowl Sunday than than the average US consumer.  

While sports bars are always a popular place to watch the Super Bowl – they’re even more popular when your team is playing. Consumers in Philadelphia and Boston were more likely to be in a sports bar than the average US consumer.

The Super Bowl gave everyone a reason to celebrate with a night on the town – even non-sports fans. Mobile consumers in all three cities were out and about at places like performing arts centers and music venues.

Places Visited During the Super Bowl Chart
3. What Would the Super Bowl be Without Food?

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Philadelphia Eagles or New England Patriots fan (or just watching for the halftime show), we can all agree that one of the most important parts of the big game is the food. Restaurants are popular places to celebrate the Super Bowl: pizza was the top choice among residents of Philadelphia, with family-style dining (like TGI Friday’s and Checkers) taking the runner-up spot. In Boston, American and family-style restaurants were also especially popular, but, in Minneapolis, restaurants saw below average foot traffic across the board.

What favorite fare didn’t make the cut? For starters, Mexican restaurants didn’t see as much traffic in Super Bowl cities as in other locales across the US. And, as quintessentially ‘American’  as fast food is, not many consumers chose to celebrate Super Sunday with fast food fare.

Restaurants Visited During the Super Bowl Chart
4. Americans Love to Shop – But Not During the Super Bowl

Across the board, Super Bowl city-dwellers under-indexed for visits to shops during the game – presumably because they were busy watching it – however, we did notice that clothing and apparel stores saw roughly 50% of the foot traffic that occurred in other cities during the Super Bowl. Perhaps non-fans used the game as prime time to get out and shop when the stores wouldn’t be as busy?

Shopping During the Super Bowl Chart

For those hosting Super Bowl parties, it seemed that consumers in Boston and Minneapolis planned particularly well for their festivities. Only consumers in Philadelphia made more last-minute trips to the grocery store – almost 2x the US average. To be fair, consumers in Minneapolis also did a bit of last-minute shopping at convenience stores.   

Consumers in Boston had below average foot traffic at almost all venues during the Super Bowl except jewelry stores (were Patriots fans counting their winnings too soon?). And for some reason, Philadelphians chose game time to fuel their intellectual curiosity at bookstores.

Every day, Gravy Analytics processes billions of pseudonymous mobile location signals to create its real-world consumer insights. What could Gravy’s location intelligence tell you about your business, competitors and customers? For more information, contact us today.

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