Monday, September 07, 2009

New York Times hockey blog calls Zimbalist "sports-economist-for-hire"

In a strong contrast to the New York Times's respectful and unskeptical treatment of sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, hired by Forest City Ratner to do a very dubious study of the Atlantic Yards project, consider coverage in the Times's hockey blog, Slap Shot.

Jeff Z. Klein, in a piece headlined Sunday’s News of Hockey, 9/6/09: Which Number Is More Absurd?, writes:
In documents filed with U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge Redfield T. Baum, the N.H.L. finally sets a fee for the relocation of franchises: $101 million to $195 million. Those are the figures two N.H.L.-hired consulting firms recommend, as the league at last puts a hard dollar number on the relocation fees called for in its bylaws.

Those figures stand in sharp contrast to the estimate put forth by the sports-economist-for-hire Andrew Zimbalist, paid consultant to James L. Balsillie, the Canadian billionaire who has offered $212.5 million to buy the Coyotes and move them to Hamilton, Ontario. Zimbalist asserted in court papers that the relocation fee ought to be between $11.2 million and $12.9 million. Zimbalist’s assertion also maintains that a part of his recommended fee will suffice as the entire territorial compensation to the Maple Leafs and, presumably, the Sabres. Says the N.H.L. in its court filing, “The notion that a team in Hamilton would be worth only $11.2 million to $12.9 million more than a team in Phoenix is patently absurd.”

(Emphasis added)

Such skepticism about Zimbalist is surely in order, given that four times since 2006 his testimony was discredited in a court case or thrown out of court.

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