Would You Take A DNA Test At An NFL Game? The Baltimore Ravens Want You To

Image courtesy of @ORIG3N_Inc

Fans attending the Baltimore Ravens’ home opener on Sunday will be leaving more than empty cups, nacho tins, and possibly their team spirit when they exit M&T Bank Stadium: Guests can leave their DNA to be tested if they take part in the team’s latest promotion.

In a new spin on game-day promotions, the Ravens will gift 55,000 attendees at Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns with a free DNA test from Orig3n Inc.

While the promotion, dubbed Ravens DNA Day, could give fans a brief look into their genetic makeup, it also poses several privacy questions and concerns about misleading results.

How Does The Promotion Work?

Fans entering M&T Bank Stadium will receive a Raven’s-themed Orig3n DNA kit, complete with materials that exclaim “purple and black are in your genes — now find out what else is.”

The Baltimore Sun reports that the kits will offer “insight into your mind, body and health.” Specifically, they will test four genes, including those that determine if a person has enhanced performance in power and spirit activities, as well as a gene that can predict an increased risk of low levels of Vitamin D.

Those taking part in the test, simply swab the inside of their cheek with the provided materials, and drop the sample into bins located in the stadium.

Participants must register with the company online in order to receive their results.

“They’re trying to enhance the fan experience at our home games. It’s a tool for consumers to have better access to information about their bodies,” Kevin Rochlitz, the Ravens’ senior vice president of corporate sales and business development, tells The Sun.

But Where’s My Data?

Dumping your DNA in a bin located in a very public place likely seems a bit disconcerting. Could someone take these vials? Is your personal information plastered all over the sample?

Orig3n claims to use “stringent security standards” to ensure all information is protected. According to Orig3n, once the company receives a participant’s DNA, scientists analysis the sample and then about four weeks later a report will be available on the company’s LifeProfile app.

“All DNA test results are encrypted and sent via a smartphone app,” the company says on its website. DNA samples are attached to a barcode in the DNA Test Kit so that it is clear who the results belong to.

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Orig3n notes that it collects users’ names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, and credit card information. It may then use that information to improve customers service; respond to customer service requests; personalize user experience; and send periodic emails.

Is It Worth It?

While the Ravens’ choice to provide DNA kits to fans is a far cry from the foam fingers and other promotional items NFL attendees are used to, does it really serve much of a purpose?

The validity and value of DNA kit results is a debated topic. For instance, the genes Orig3n is testing doesn’t necessarily give users insight into their overall health or family history.

In fact, Orig3n states in its FAQ that its report and assessment is “not intended for use as an indication of any medical condition or used as a diagnostic tool.”

“The results of the LifeProfile analyses are designed for informational purposes,” the company says. “With the information you receive in your report, you’ll feel empowered to make the right lifestyle choices to feel, look, and perform your very best.”

However, some critics contend that the consumers may take too much stock into the results, coming to the conclusion that they are more healthy than they all are.

Whether or not fans will get much use out of their test results remains to be seen, but having a captive audience of more than 55,000 people Sunday is likely to be a great advertising opportunity for Orig3n.