We compare COVID-19 case loads and mortality across geographic areas that hosted more vs fewer NHL hockey games, NBA basketball games, and NCAA basketball games during the early months of 2020, before any large outbreaks. We find that hosting one additional NHL/NBA game leads to an additional 783 COVID-19 cases during March-mid May and an additional 52 deaths. Similarly, we find that hosting an additional NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball games results in an additional 31 cases and an additional 2.4 deaths. Back of the envelope calculations suggest that the per-game fatality costs exceed consumption benefits by a wide margin.
That is from Coady Wing, Daniel H. Simon, and Patrick Carlin. I think we have not a good enough model of the heterogeneities of prevalence across regions for those to be reliable estimates. Still, I am happy to see more work on the question of what in particular causes Covid cases, and also whether sporting events play a significant role.