Touchdown in Atlanta: Human Mobility During The Big Game

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At Unacast we are constantly looking for opportunities to understand Human Mobility and unlock location data capabilities. One such initiative is to have a dedicated day at work where our teams look at real world use-cases deriving insights from our data.

One of these days we focused on a use-case from February 3rd, The Big Game.

2019 was the first time Georgia’s capital city hosted America’s favorite game in the brand new Mercedes Benz Stadium. We know this game day resulted in an incredible amount of travel to Atlanta for this much awaited weekend. However, what interested our team in Oslo most was how this game affected the activity around the stadium.

Activity around Mercedez-Benz stadium from 5 PM (black) to 11 PM (yellow) on February 3rd, Game Day.

State Distribution of Visitors to Stadium

Mercedes Benz Stadium has a seating capacity of around 71,000, and our data gives us a certain coverage of the visitors to stadium. Understanding this, we played with the data and did some analysis. First, we looked at the state distribution of visitors to the stadium. 30% of the visitors were from Georgia, while the remaining 70% of visitors were from other states. Additionally our data showed that the proportion of visits from California and Massachusetts ranked second and the third respectively, which aligned with the teams who made it to the big game, the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots.

Influence of Game on Local Market Place

To understand the effects the game made on visits to Atlanta, we created “Circles of Influence,” grouped venues based on their distance to Mercedes Benz Stadium. Our data shows that there was an increase in visits to venues that were very close (less than 1 km) to the stadium on both the day before and after the big game. The day before the game, visits were also high for venues that were less than 3 kms away, which can be attributed to hotel and tourist attraction visits.

Resident vs Tourist Behavior Using Top Visits

Next, we looked at venues within a 10km radius to the stadium to see if there was an increase in visits a bit further out. Below you can see the share of visits for an individual weekend and the total combined visits of the big game and the weekend previous.

Venues with top percentage increase. The increase for Centennial Olympic Park is around 4%, while for Waffle House it is around 1.3%.

Seeing this data spurred some curiosity to see if there was a difference in venues visited by residents of Atlanta, and venues visited by tourists. We determined if a person was a resident of Atlanta by using our HomeWork Dataset, which profiles homes and works locations and can be used to check corresponding state and county.

We noticed that by plotting top visits by residents vs tourists, we could see a few patterns emerge. Venues with top visits by residents were groceries stores, like Publix Super Market, Kroger, Walmart, while venues with top visits by tourists were attractions like the Omni Atlanta, Hyatt Corp and Park Bar. Both tourists and residents saw an increase in visits to Subways and McDonalds food chains.


We can clearly see the impact of the game on local venues, with an increase in visits around 50% compared to previous weekend - this should correlate with increase in revenues as well. There was a 50% increase in visits to restaurants, while visitation to hotels and motels increased 56%, grocery store visits increased by 62%, and service stations saw 54% more visits compared to previous weekend. While visits rose overall, residents and tourists were more likely to frequent different locations, with residents stocking up their fridges and popcorn bowls by visiting grocery stores and tourists checking into hotels and bars.

Want to learn more? Keep reading to learn more about insights on how a concert changed city patterns in Oslo.


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