Sports economist Zimbalist, wearing academic's hat, calls projected Boston Olympics revenues "drunken optimism"
Smith College economics professor Andrew Zimbalist sat quietly for the first 15 minutes of the Olympics debate on Thursday night. When Zimbalist did finally open his mouth, he used a unique description of Boston 2024’s revenue estimates.
“Most of the numbers I see reflect drunken optimism,” he said.
Zimbalist said the bid’s expected ticket sale revenues for Olympic basketball games were unlikely to be reached.
...In any case, the creative phrase inspired the #DrunkenOptimism hashtag on Twitter.
...Zimbalist, a consistent critic of Boston 2024, is not shy of referring to the bid in metaphoric language. Speaking broadly about the bidding plans to Boston.com earlier this week, he called them “a lot of baloney.”
An exchange on integrity
The Boston Glob in June reported on a charged exchange between Zimbalist and Steve Pagliuca, who headed Boston's Olympic bid:
Smith College professor Andrew Zimbalist, who for months has criticized the local Olympic bid in just about every mode of media short of semaphore flags, claimed Tuesday on WGBH that Pagliuca offered him a consulting job with Boston 2024 a few days after Pagliuca became chairman of the Olympic bid committee in May.Pagliuca said he talked to Zimbalist but didn't make an offer. Zimbalist followed up with a letter:
STEVE PAGLIUCA denies asking me to work for him (“Did Pagliuca ask Olympics critic to work for Boston 2024?” Metro, June 9). More precisely, he denies making me a job offer. In part, he may be hiding behind semantics. There was never a concrete job offer made, with a particular salary and schedule. One reason that there was never a formal job offer is that each time he asked me to work for him, I immediately said that I couldn’t do that.
He did, however, say to me several times that he wanted me to work for him and to be on the Boston 2024 committee. At the end of the day, I suppose, it is my word against his. I have always respected him, and I still do. Unfortunately, he is in a thankless job and, like his predecessor, he is compelled to spin every bit of negative news....
I originally did not plan on mentioning his phone call to the public. However, after I continued to see the daily misinformation being perpetrated by Boston 2024, I decided that my silence would become part of the spin cycle. I have opted instead for transparency.Okay, but.. let's remember Zimbalist on Atlantic Yards.
"The main reason I've been supportive of this project--and I was supportive before Forest City Ratner asked me to help them with some economic projections--is not because of its potential to raise per-capita income or employment,” he declared in February 2004, “but because it's wonderful for Brooklyn, for cultural enrichment, cultural identity, to restore something that has been robbed from Brooklyn.”