There have been several reports that a large number of prostitutes visit the host city of the Super Bowl each year:

Local police forces have announced that they will be especially diligent this week, with active stings targeting both prostitutes and potential patrons. Still, as many as 100,000 prostitutes -- male and female -- will descend upon South Florida in hopes of cashing in with football fans before the Super Bowl

Pedigo estimates 15,000 prostitutes will be brought to North Texas for the Super Bowl, many against their will and that many of the women selling their bodies are underage and on the verge of homelessness.

However, the Houston Press published an article claiming it was a hoax:

Yes, one of America's great urban legends is again being trotted out just in time for kickoff: The notion that legions of out-of-town prostitutes descend on whichever city hosts America's Big Game.


Said Phoenix police Sergeant Tommy Thompson after the 2008 Super Bowl: "We may have had certain precincts that were going gangbusters looking for prostitutes, but they were picking up your everyday street prostitutes. They didn't notice any sort of glitch in the number of prostitution arrests leading up to the Super Bowl.

Is there evidence for these claims of a local influx of prostitutes following the Super Bowl?

  • 6
    The first number seem absurdly high. A study pnas.org/content/97/22/12385.full.pdf from the 90's suggest 23 prostitutes per 100k people, so the US has a total of ~70k in total. Having 25% of the total of any profession go to one event also seem absurdly unlikely.
    – Kit Sunde
    Sep 1, 2012 at 20:43
  • 2
    A friend of mine said this exact same thing and I would like an answer - 50 reputation is up for grabs
    – Coomie
    Feb 4, 2013 at 5:42
  • Why would the validity be disputed by the % of prostitutes? Is it impossible for 15,000 people to go there? If not, what does it matter the percentage of the total? Also there was a good/reliable article somewhere explaining that the number is not a constant, but surprisingly (or not) it depends on the demand.
    – Boris
    Feb 5, 2013 at 18:26
  • BTW. similar claims are made about The Olympic Games and The World Cup
    – vartec
    Feb 13, 2013 at 13:07

1 Answer 1


Source - What's The Cost Of A Rumour? A guide to sorting out the myths and the facts and sporting events and trafficking.

The estimated numbers of 10,000 - 100,000 prostitutes travelling to the SuperBowl aren't plausible:

the total number of visitors to the Super Bowl is estimated between 150,000 to 200,000 and that at these figures, “it meant that every man, woman and child holding a ticket would have their own personal hooker, from the vice presidential wing of FedEx to Little Timmy from Green Bay”.

Post event assessments of previous Super Bowls showed no spike in prostitution:

Phoenix hosted the big game three years ago [2008]. Police there told News 8 they received similar warnings about an increase in prostitution and prepared for it, but never uncovered any evidence of a spike in illegal sexual activity.

Tampa hosted the Super Bowl in 2009. A police spokeswoman there said officers there made 11 prostitution arrests during the entire week leading up to the game. And last year [2010], Miami police told News 8 they arrested 14 for prostitution. Those figures are not uncommon for large cities during a seven-day period, experts said.

The report also found that similar rumours about large numbers of prostitutes at the 2006 World Cup in Germany (where prostitution is legal) were false:

The German Government reported to the Council of the European Union that the number of sex workers only increased in the city of Munich (from 500 sex workers to 800 sex workers) as a result of the World Cup, but trafficking did not.

Researchers for the International Organisation for Migration (intergovernmental organisation) found that at the time of the 2006 World Cup, 33 investigation cases of human trafficking for the purposes of prostitution and/or promotion of human trafficking were reported to the Federal Criminal Police Office. Of these, only 5 cases were thought to be linked to the 2006 World Cup.


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