Play GateHouse Media's online game to pick Amazon's second headquarters.

Amazon’s announcement of the 20 finalists for its second headquarters sent GateHouse Media into a data dive. We wanted to know: If numbers alone could predict the winning site, where would it be?

We’re not alone. News media, economists and others have collected reams of data and analyzed the best place for the tech-giant’s second home. But it’s impossible to examine all the information each site submitted to Amazon, because not all the applications were made public.

So we decided to try something different. Rather predicting the winner ourselves, we wanted to let the reader decide where HQ2 should go.

We created an online game using more than 20 data sets based on Amazon’s own site-selection criteria. They’re divided among seven different categories: labor force; travel and logistics; culture and business climate; economics and incentives; quality of life; sustainability and green energy; and connectivity.


For those in the dark about this Amazon thing, here’s some background:

The Seattle-based e-commerce giant announced plans for HQ2 in September, encouraging communities across North America to pitch their city as the best spot.

Its request for proposals included specific requirements for its second headquarters, along with a host of preferences it hopes bidders can offer.

Some of its wishes include a highly educated labor pool, proximity to an international airport with daily direct flights to Seattle, New York, San Francisco and D.C. and a unique community where its employees can enjoy a high quality of life.

The announcement generated 238 bids and ignited a flurry of media coverage speculating where the company would go.

“This is brilliant in terms of free publicity for them,” said economist and University of Missouri-Kansas City professor William Black, of Amazon’s public site-selection process.

On Jan. 18, Amazon narrowed the pool to 20 communities. The company is working with those sites to dive deeper into its proposals, gather more information and “evaluate the feasibility of a future partnership” with finalists.

There’s a lot at stake: At least 50,000 high-paying jobs. An initial construction investment of $5 billion. Billions more in additional investment potential.

To cinch the deal, the chosen site must be able to provide millions of square feet in office space, a stable and business-friendly environment and a tech-savvy workforce. Some also have promised Amazon billions of dollars in incentives.

It will announce the winning city sometime this year.

In the meantime, play the game and decide for yourself where Amazon should locate HQ2.