The commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle correctly predicted that the Baltimore Ravens would win the Super Bowl last night by using a formula based on the office vacancy rates of the competing teams’ home cities. The hypothesis holds that the city with the higher vacancy rate will produce the winning team.
Heading into last night’s game in New Orleans, JLL called it for the Baltimore Ravens over the San Francisco 49ers. Maryland’s Charm City has a current office vacancy rate of 15.5 percent compared to the City by the Bay’s 11.8 percent figure, according to the firm’s research.
“We’ve gone back to 2000 and looked at several different factors, including absorption rates, and the only one with a high correlation with the winning team was high vacancy rates on the office side,” said John Sikaitis, senior vice president and director of office research at JLL.
“I know commercial real estate and football,”Roger Staubach, executive chairman of the Americas at JLL and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback named the most valuable player of Super Bowl VI, said in a prepared statement last week. “While I can tell you that our hypothesis is right more than it’s wrong, I really like the chances of the Forty-Niners.”
While JLL got it right this time, the company conceded in a prepared statement that its methods are just 58 percent accurate. Last year, the New England Patriots lost out to the New York Giants despite there being a lower vacancy rate in New York than Boston.
Mr. Sikaitis added that between 2000 and 2006, the team with the larger rate won each Super Bowl. The largest spread in vacancy rates since 2000 was when the Giants again beat the Patriots on February 3, 2008. Heading into that game, New York’s office vacancy rate was 10.2 percent to Boston’s 23.6 percent, Mr. Sikaitis said.
But Manhattan and surroundings should emerge victorious next year whether or not a home team makes the big game. It will be played at The Meadowlands in New Jersey, and host cities typically receive a shot in the arm from tourism and Super Bowl-related retail. The Times Picayune reported that the Super Bowl would generate $434 million of spending in New Orleans, though any negative impact caused by the blackout at the Superdome remains to be seen.