The Science of Super Bowl Spending — and ID Theft


The Science of Super Bowl Spending — and ID Theft

Economic Uncertainty

Critics have labeled economics an imperfect science, and the varying assessments of the recent Super Bowl’s impact on the local economy may highlight that the field still lacks the precision often seen in disciplines like astrophysics.

Super Bowl Impact

A CNBC article about the Glendale, Arizona-hosted event states that it is currently under evaluation to determine its economic impact on the city.

Differing Estimates

This is because the numbers that NFL, and non-NFL economists come up with differ rather profoundly. The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee’s own study, based on the previous hosting of the 2008 championship, estimated that the big Bowl “brought in about $500 million to the city…by considering car and hotel room rentals as well as the number of people traveling to the contest by plane, among other variables.”

On the wildly differing other hand, however, “Victor Matheson, a College of the Holy Cross economist who focuses on sports economics, said non-NFL economists estimate this Super Bowl’s economic impact to be around $30 million…the disparity between both estimates consists of several factors. Non-NFL economists do not take into account local spending when calculating the event’s economic impact on the host city because they say local spending would have been there anyway.”

Waiting for the True Impact

According to Matheson and others, it will be at least 30 days before we know the true scope of the Super Bowl’s largesse for its host city. The article does point that unlike Olympic hosting, however, NFL Championship host cities at least use venues — football stadiums — that can easily be used again when the event is over.

The Dark Side of Data

Yet, other science reported this week demonstrates that whether you travel or stay local for the Super Bowl or any other event, your identity can be easily hacked if you’re not careful with your personal information.

MIT Study on Data Vulnerability

Science Daily summarizes a rather alarming study from MIT, which states “just four vague pieces of info can identify you, and your credit card.”

Four Pieces of Information

Which four? Well, unfortunately “the dates and locations of four purchases — are enough to identify 90 percent of the people in a data set recording three months of credit-card transactions by 1.1 million users. If someone had copies of just three of your recent receipts — or one receipt, one Instagram photo of you having coffee with friends, and one tweet about the phone you just bought — would have a 94 percent chance of extracting your credit card records from those of a million other people. The researchers assert that this holds true, even when the data set does not contain any identifiable information such as names, addresses, credit card numbers, or other commonly considered personal details.

Concerns Over Data Privacy

The study, as noted, follows an earlier analysis of mobile-phone records by approximately two years, which produced very similar findings.

Protecting Your Data

You can click on the story itself to see how Metadata is used to specifically identify individuals. The article suggests that in the future, potential solutions may emerge. It also mentions that some of these researchers have initiated the development of a system allowing individuals to store their mobile device-generated data on servers they personally select.

Stay Secure

Meanwhile, make sure the servers that you’ve chosen for your business — and you and your customers’ data — remain secure, along with the rest of your on and offline networks. Contact your AVPS rep for more information about I Spy Fraud Protection, and more, whether you’re processing portable, or online, or at the other end of a terminal.


Regardless of how a Super Bowl affects its own host community, those things are critical to your personal economy, and that of your business!

Closing Remark

We’ll see you one week closer to Valentine’s Day!

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