- The Philadelphia Eagles could’ve played a role in Amazon declining to build its new HQ in the city
- Philly was apparently one of the top candidates before future CEO and New York Giants fan Andy Jassy reportedly stepped in to torpedo the city’s chances
- Revelation detailed in a new book about the company
At the start of 2018, Amazon announced it had whittled down the list of potential locations for a new headquarters—dubbed “HQ”—to 20 cities in the United States. What followed was essentially the corporate world’s version of The Bachelor that saw municipalities around the country vying for the heart of the corporation in the hopes of receiving a rose in the form of tens of thousands of jobs with the potential to stimulate the economy.
Boston was initially pegged as the favorite but Arlington, Virginia would eventually walk away with the grand prize (which it was initially supposed to share with New York City before Amazon pulled the plug on a proposed complex in Queens following pushback from locals). Now, the Crystal City area is poised to get one hell of a facelift as the company works on the massive modern compound that’s currently slated to officially open for business in 2023.
As was the case with all of the other finalists, officials in Arlington were tasked with making the city seem as appealing as possible. However, they faced some stiff competition from other aspiring Amazon hubs—including Philadelphia, which was apparently at the top of the shortlist with Chicago and Raleigh before things came crashing down over a seemingly minor issue.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, journalist Brad Stone devoted part of his new book Amazon Unbound to reflect on a fateful meeting that was held in June of 2018 that reportedly changed the entire trajectory of the HQ2 search. During the sitdown, a team of advisors presented the aforementioned trio of cities as the top contenders to a room of Amazon executives. That collection included Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon Web Services and future heir to the throne Jeff Bezos will cede this summer.
After Jassy heard Philly was in the mix, an unnamed source familiar with what went down said the New York native “opined that he disliked the city, which was the bitter rival of his favorite football team, the Giants.” While he seemed to be joking, the comments were interpreted as serious enough to make the advisors reconsider their approach and give more heft to “the arbitrary personal preferences of senior executives,” which apparently influenced the final verdict.
There are obviously plenty of other factors that came into play here when it came to picking the winning city, but even if Jassy’s hatred of the Eagles wasn’t the primary reason for Philadelphia getting snubbed, part of me wishes it was, as that’s the kind of pettiness I live for.