Eyes turn toward another data point in the US this weekend: the Super Bowl. Notoriously superstitious, equity market traders look for every kind of insight imaginable to try to get an edge including this event. According to Wikipedia, in the 1970’s a sports journalist named Leonard Koppett uncovered the coincidence that if the American Football Conference (AFC) wins the big game, equity markets tend to fall during the year. A win by the National Football Conference (NFC) leads to a higher equity market. Clearly there is no fundamental relationship whatsoever (what is technically called a spurious relationship), but market psychology does not necessarily have to make sense in the short-term. As measured by the S&P 500, this flip of the data coin has happened to be right around 80% of the time.
What is not coincidental is the volume of chicken wings sold during the event. Americans are not known for their dietary restraint and Super Bowl Sunday ranks as the second biggest eating day of the year after Thanksgiving. The National Chicken Council estimates that 1.3 billion chicken wings will be consumed in the US this coming Sunday alone. Pun aside, it is difficult to stomach how many wings that really is. They estimate that, if laid end to end, the distance covered would be equal to the depth between the deepest part of the Marianas Trench in the Pacific Ocean to the surface…over ten thousand times! According to the National Chicken Council, cities that sold more wings than their opponent had a higher win rate in the 2016 NFL play offs (winning 7 out of 10 playoff games) and have won 4 out of the last 5 Super Bowls. They reference market research firm IRI in suggesting that Charlotte has a lead over Denver going into the match, $1,400 of chicken wings sold per $1mm in grocery sales compared to $480. It just so happens that the Charlotte Panthers are part of the NFC. Just some food for thought.