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Seattle's 12th Man Will Make the Difference in Super Bowl XLVIII, Based on a Surprising Predictor of Big-Game Success

Team whose fan base has higher employment has won 20 of last 25 Super Bowls; Seattle - with 5.9 percent jobless rate - gets the nod over Denver in 2014, according to RiseSmart study.

SAN JOSE, Calif., Jan. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Seattle Seahawks fans – known as the 12th Man -- have earned a reputation as some of the loudest, most loyal fans in the NFL.  But can their support push the Seahawks over the top even at a neutral location – MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., the site of Super Bowl XLVIII?  A RiseSmart analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests that it can.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140121/DA49830-INFO)

According to RiseSmart, a leading provider of enterprise career management solutions, the team whose fan base enjoys greater economic prosperity, as measured by lower unemployment rates, has won 20 of the past 25 Super Bowls – an 80 percent success rate.

Based on the correlation of BLS data and Super Bowl winners, the Seattle Seahawks are the favorite to defeat the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. Through November, the 2013 unemployment rate for the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan statistical area was 5.9 percent, compared to 6.7 percent for the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield metro area.

The "unemployment rate predictor" has accurately picked the Super Bowl winner in 20 out of 25 matchups beginning in 1989, when the San Francisco 49ers, hailing from a metro area with a low 3.6 percent jobless rate, defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, whose fan base was then experiencing a 5.1 percent unemployment rate, in Super Bowl XXIII. The correlation is based on the jobless rates in the competing metro areas in the calendar year preceding the Super Bowl.

"After a quarter century as one of the most consistently accurate Super Bowl predictors, it's fair to ask if this correlation is more than simply a coincidence," said Sanjay Sathe, president and CEO of RiseSmart. "One could argue that a fan base with higher employment is more likely to have expendable income to attend games, buy team merchandise, and cheer on their team at sports bars and restaurants.  Maybe that additional fan support gives their team an edge that ultimately drives them to Super Bowl victory.

"And that's how Seattle's 12th Man will make the difference at Super Bowl XLVIII, according to the unemployment predictor."

Other facts of note:

  • This is Seattle's second trip to the Big Game. The Seahawks' Super Bowl XL loss to the  Pittsburgh Steelers represents an exception to the rule – it's one of the few occasions when the unemployment predictor failed. Pittsburgh defeated Seattle despite having a 5.2 percent unemployment rate, compared to Seattle's 5.0 percent rate.
  • Three of the four other times the predictor failed, the Super Bowl winner was the New York Giants – who earned upset wins over Buffalo in 1991 and New England in 2008 and 2012.

"Never underestimate the power of having a job," Sathe said. "The subtle changes that higher employment can bring to a metro area can spread ripples as far as the football field."

Super Bowl

Winner

Jobless Rate (%)

Loser

Jobless Rate (%)

1989

San Francisco

3.6

Cincinnati

5.1

1990

San Francisco

3.3

Denver

5.4

1991

New York

5.5

Buffalo

5.3

1992

Washington

4.6

Buffalo

7.2

1993

Dallas

6.9

Buffalo

7.5

1994

Dallas

6.1

Buffalo

6.8

1995

San Francisco

5.9

San Diego

7.1

1996

Dallas

4.8

Pittsburgh

6

1997

Green Bay

3.4

New England

4.1

1998

Denver

2.9

Green Bay

3.3

1999

Denver

2.9

Atlanta

3.3

2000

St. Louis

3.5

Tennessee

2.9

2001

Baltimore

3.8

New York 

4.4

2002

New England

3.6

St. Louis

4.6

2003

Tampa Bay

5.6

Oakland

6.2

2004

New England

5.7

Carolina

6.3

2005

New England

5.0

Philadelphia

5.1

2006

Pittsburgh

5.2

Seattle

5.0

2007

Indianapolis

4.4

Chicago

4.5

2008

New York 

4.4

New England

4.1

2009

Pittsburgh

5.1

Arizona

5.3

2010

New Orleans

6.5

Indianapolis

8.7

2011

Green Bay

7.7

Pittsburgh

8

2012

New York 

8.5

New England

6.6

2013

Baltimore

7.2

San Francisco

8.1

Note: Jobless rates are for year prior to Super Bowl year.  Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

About RiseSmart
RiseSmart is a leader in enterprise career management solutions that drive employee engagement, improve retention, and burnish employer brands.  Through its employee-centric career-management platform, RiseSmart Compass, and its results-oriented outplacement solution, RiseSmart Transition, RiseSmart helps high-performing organizations successfully cultivate passionate, engaged employees and loyal alumni ambassadors. RiseSmart's innovative approach to human capital management has earned the company a wide range of awards and recognition from organizations including Bersin by Deloitte, the Best in Biz, Gartner Inc., the Golden Bridge Awards, LAROCQUE, the Momentum Index, Red Herring, the San Francisco Business Times, SiliconIndia, the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, the Stevie Awards and TIE.  For more information about how enterprise career management can help you, visit http://www.risesmart.com.

Contact: Stephanie Wick, 1-972-850-5866, [email protected]

SOURCE RiseSmart

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