It’s been 174 days since Amazon announced its plans for HQ2 on Sept. 7. The deadline for proposals came on Oct. 19, and four days later, the company announced that it had received a total of 238 proposals. About three months later, that list was narrowed down to 20 finalists. And now, 40 days later, will we soon know the winner of the HQ2 sweepstakes?
No one knows. Well, no one outside the walls of Amazonia, at least. Maybe it’s hidden somewhere in The Spheres, and we all missed it the one day it was open to the media. It’s really anyone’s guess.
And if you’re in the guessing business, there could be money in that. Canada-based betting site Bovada has new odds on which city will land Amazon’s second headquarters.
Here’s the list, posted Monday, Feb. 26 (as of today):
- Northern Virginia, Virginia: +300
- Austin, Texas: +350
- Boston, Massachusetts: +400
- Washington, D.C.: +500
- Atlanta, Georgia: +550
- Raleigh, North Carolina: +2,200
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: +2,500
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada: +2,500
- Nashville, Tennessee: +2,500
- Chicago, Illinois: +3,000
- Denver, Colorado: +3,000
- New York City, New York: +3,000
- Indianapolis, Indiana: +3,300
- Columbus, Ohio: +3,300
- Newark, New Jersey: +3,300
- Los Angeles, California: +4,000
- Miami, Florida: +4,000
(Note: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Montgomery County, Maryland, did not have odds listed.)
There’s been a bit of movement since Bovada’s first round of odds came out in the immediate wake of the finalists announcement.
Location of Amazon HQ2 (Bovada):
Washington, D.C. +1000
Pittsburgh/Indy/LA/Montgomery County +1500
New York City/Raleigh/Toronto/Northern Virginia/Newark +1800
— OddsShark (@OddsShark) January 19, 2018
Some separation from the true contenders appears to have occurred over the past month, with Austin, Boston and Atlanta -- three cities in our original four predictions -- rising to the top along with another longtime HQ2 favorite, Washington, D.C.
But what’s Northern Virginia doing suddenly at the top of the list, after initially ranking near the bottom?
Last week, in a terrific piece of digital journalism, ARLnow.com reported on a seemingly inexplicable flood of traffic to one of its articles from last December -- “County Wins Top Environmental Award from U.S. Green Building Council” -- finding that the clicks were coming from an Amazon.com internal page focused on the HQ2 search. Arlington County, notably, borders Washington, D.C., and is part of the D.C. metro area.
So did Amazon accidentally give it all away? Of course, it’s anyone’s guess. But someone, at least, is wagering that it has more significance than Alexa giving the weather in Austin in its Super Bowl ad or which city had the best pitch in SNL’s HQ2 parody. Stay tuned.