Olympic revenue estimates are ‘drunken optimism,’ critic says

Smith College economist Andrew Zimbalist coined a new term on Thursday.
Smith College economist Andrew Zimbalist coined a new term on Thursday. –The Boston Globe/Keith Bedford

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.

Daniel Doctoroff, a member of the US Olympic Committee and Boston 2024 board member, bristled at the “drunken optimism’’ level, calling it “unfair’’ and “inaccurate.’’

Steve Pagliuca, Boston 2024’s chairman, defended the estimated ticket numbers and said they were based on averages across all price levels.

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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.’’

Gallery: The major players in Boston’s Olympic bid.

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