The mother of all bad beats has reared its ugly head in Las Vegas. 

First, a string of conference cancellations proved to be a gut-punch to the local economy. Now, to make matters worse, gamblers have little reason to come to Sin City, at what was to be one of its biggest seasons of the year: March Madness. The cancellation of not just NCAA conference tournaments, but the annual tournament to determine a national champion in college hoops, is a potential death-blow to a hospitality business that has been hard-hit in past crises. 

Our first chart is MGM Resorts' ($MGM) Facebook Talking About Count, which just hit a low that's not often seen (the only other time it happened in 2020, was the weekend in which no NFL football is played, between AFC and NFC teams' Championship Game, and the Super Bowl, which is two weekends later). It peaked - clearly - the weekend that the biggest sporting event in the world unfolded, which is apparently a pretty decent time to visit Las Vegas. 

Making matters worse, in prior years, MGM's Facebook ($FB) data looked much more robust this time of year - so it's clear it will be missing out on business. And, MGM is hiring like it, too, it seems. 

So far from the March peak, MGM job postings dropped about 9%. And, based on what's happening elsewhere in the travel and hospitality space, from cruises to hotels to airlines, there's little inclination that things might get better any time soon. 

MGM is just one example - but the fact that it is a global brand with 30 destinations makes it more likely that its social media data will reveal a substantial movement in chatter. Further, its shares have been pummeled in the Coronavirus outbreak crisis, losing nearly 60% of their value, and far outpacing other sectors' losses. While there remains time for recovery, the casino space faces myriad challenges in bouncing back - but at least Las Vegas can count on legal pot as a tourist draw. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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