How Amazon’s HQ2 Finalist List Shook Up the Crowd’s Views of the Eventual Winner
Amazon released a list of the 20 city finalists for the location of its future second headquarters, known as HQ2, this week. And though the winnowing had few surprises, it has shaken up the views of bettors wagering on the eventual winner.
Detroit didn’t make the cut and Indianapolis did, but the list was largely as expected and included almost all of the prior favorites, including Atlanta, Austin, and Boston. In fact, all but one of the top 10 cities favored by bettors back in November on the Irish betting web site Paddy Power made the final cut. (Only eighth-ranked San Jose failed to reach the finals.)
But since Amazon (AMZN) disclosed the final 20, the wisdom of crowds has shifted on the favorites. Boston, which had been in third place with odds of 6-to-1, moved into first place this week with odds of 3-to-1. Austin, which had been second at 3-to-1 in November, held its position but its odds slipped slightly to 7-to-2. And former top dog Atlanta, listed at 2-to-1 odds, moved into a tie for second, also at 7-to-2.
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Among the long shots, Paddy Power listed a tie at 20-to-1 odds for almost half the field, comprised of Columbus, Los Angeles, Nashville, Indianapolis, Raleigh, Dallas, Northern Virginia, and Miami.
The much longer shots bettors considered back in November were Halifax, at 100-to-1, and Ottawa, at 80-to-1.
Amazon says it plans to spend $5 billion to build its second headquarters somewhere in North America with an eventual planned workforce of 50,000. The e-commerce giant solicited bids from cities with populations of at least 1 million and ready access to an international airport and got 238 applications. The company says it will name a winner sometime this year.
Boston’s odds may have been bolstered by reports earlier this month that Amazon was already seeking to rent up to 1 million square feet of office space in Boston. According to its HQ2 plans, the company wants to lease about that much space in a first phase of building HQ2 in 2019 up to an eventual size of 8 million square feet by 2027.
Betting on the HQ2 site could soon be joined by betting for where Apple (AAPL) plans to locate a second major U.S. campus. The iPhone maker said this week that it plans to open a second campus that will focus, at least initially, on customer tech support.