Wednesday, October 19, 2011

When it comes to the NBA lockout, economist Zimbalist, FCR's paid consultant, sounds like the voice of neutral reason

It's notable that, in press coverage of the NBA lockout and negotiations, sports economist Andrew Zimbalist is portrayed as a neutral voice of reason. He does, in fact, come off as Scholar Zimbalist.

However, as Consultant Zimbalist, he produced an irresponsible, tendentious report for Forest City Ratner claiming that the Atlantic Yards project would bring billions in new revenues.

(Remember, then-FCR executive Jim Stuckey--yes, the same Jim Stuckey who's been in the news-- claimed at a 5/4/04 City Council hearing, "It is really not our report, it is Professor Zimbalist’s report." But Zimbalist was paid by the developer and used questionable information the developer supplied.)

From the Times

In Owners Sacrificing Games (or Season?) in Bid to Balance N.B.A., the New York Times reported 10/12/11:
Many economists are unconvinced that payroll controls do much to promote competitive balance.

“The statistical correlation between payroll and win percentage is practically nonexistent,” said Andrew Zimbalist, a professor of economics at Smith College, who has studied the issue.

Despite apparent trends in the N.B.A., Mr. Zimbalist said the league did not have a competitive balance problem. He cited the Heat, who have made the league’s championship finals twice in six years despite playing in the nation’s 16th-largest television market. He also cited the Knicks, who have not won a playoff game in 10 years despite having one of the highest payrolls.
From the Financial Times

A 10/11/11 Financial Times article headlined NBA cancels two weeks of season:
Though both sides in such labour disputes often use the wider economic impact of sports as ammunition for their arguments, Andrew Zimbalist, professor of economics at Smith College in Massachusetts, said the impact to the economy would be minimal.
“The bars will be affected, but it won’t have any effect on the overall economy,” he said. “Some venues will be hurt, others will be helped. If people don’t go to games, they’ll go out to dinner.”
From public radio

In NBA players and owners to meet again, a Marketplace Morning Report yesterday, he was quoted:
If you're a team owner or a player, 'tis the season to sell jerseys and fill luxury boxes. So does everyone lose if games aren't played?

ZIMBALIST: The teams that generate profits will suffer. The reputation and the brand of the NBA will suffer.

And businesses connected to basketball will suffer. But Zimbalist says local economies overall won't. Consumers will spend their entertainment dollars elsewhere.
Talkes went 16 hours yesterday, and are supposed to resume today.

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