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Why Hosting the Olympics Is Bad for Cities

Don't count on gaining much from your moment in the sporting sun.

Of all the hype surrounding the Olympics, some of the biggest tends to be economic. The event is often billed as a boon to business for its host city - a two-week burst of tourism and valuable television time, as well as a spur for much needed infrastructure investment. But is it true? Do countries really gain from organizing the Olympic Games?

The answer is: It depends, but don't count on it. There may be a few former hosts that experienced a long-term economic benefit, such as Barcelona, but scholarly research has found that any gains are difficult to identify.

Even in an ideal world where aspiring host cities behaved rationally, the competition to land the games would leave the winner just about breaking even, or maybe with a small windfall. But we don't live in an ideal world. In practice, host cities tend to be captured by private interests who end up promising much more than the city can afford.


The problem starts with the bidding process. Getting to host the games is an Olympic event in itself - a marathon that starts ten years before the opening ceremonies.Cities form local organizing committees that first compete nationally to become their country's candidate, then internationally to be chosen as host. At each stage, they must convince the selection committee that the city will orchestrate the most effective, elaborate, safe, and convenient athletic blowout of the myriad competitors. As the bidding proceeds, the plans become more and more detailed, spectacular, and expensive.

Olympics 2012 bug
London gets ready for the Summer Games See full coverage

If the process were rational, each local organizing committee would have a notion of how much their city stood to benefit financially from the games and would cap their bid below that dollar figure. Since the Olympics are likely to generate roughly similar amounts of business activity in any given city, the competition among would-be hosts would drive all of their proposals up to the limit, and whichever town was chosen would reap close to zero net benefit from the event.

Local committees, however, invariably are motivated and run by private business interests which individually stand to gain from the massive construction associated with the events.These interests include construction companies, construction unions, architectural firms, investment bankers, and lawyers, among others. They come together to form a coalition and bring politicians on board.

The result is what economists call a principal/agent problem. The city (principal) is not properly represented by the local organizing committee (agent). The committee that nominally represents the city really represents itself and bids according to its sense of the private benefit (of its members) versus the private cost, rather than the city's public benefit versus public cost.Since the private cost is diminutive and the private gain extraordinary, the local organizing committees, on behalf of the cities, are bound to overbid, wiping out any modest, potential economic gains.

Meanwhile, during the bidding process cities spend tens of millions of dollars to win the hosting competition. Chicago spent a reported $100 million in its losing campaign to host the 2016 summer games.


But suppose you are the "lucky" city that wins the competition. In a perfect world, urban planners would sit down and deliberately map out the use of scarce urban real estate based on the infrastructural, operational, and sustainability needs of the city.

Planning for the Olympics, however, occurs in a frenzied environment where local organizing committee staffers and hired guns draw up detailed plans based upon the rushed proposal previously put forward to the International Olympic Committee. 

The good news is that municipal and state decision-making, which may be gridlocked under normal circumstances, is forced to overcome political bickering to approve financing for construction projects. Some of these projects may be long-delayed, needed improvements to the city's infrastructure. Hosting the Olympics may catalyze their undertaking. Insofar as the Olympics impels cities to finally do what was long overdue, hosting the games has a potential benefit. Such a potential benefit is more alluring to a less developed city, such as Athens, than to a fully developed and congested city, such as London or New York. Athens, after all, lacked a modern communications infrastructure and had significant deficiencies in its transportation infrastructure.

The challenge here is that the environment in which the preparations for the Games takes place is not conducive to rational, effective planning. Sports venues and stadiums must be built and infrastructure serving those edifices takes priority. The other challenge is that the budget, initially bloated, only grows over time as construction costs escalate over the ten-year preparation period, bells and whistles are inevitably added, and initial drawings are revealed to be overly optimistic.

Once the 17-day extravaganza is over, the city must then attempt to find productive use of the dozens of venues it has built. These projects often cost hundreds-of-millions of dollars to construct, take up 10 to 20 acres of valuable urban real estate (frequently for decades), and cost tens-of-millions of dollars to maintain each year. Despite this, many of these former Olympic venues are scarcely used, as is the case with Beijing's Bird's Nest and Water Cube, or many of the venues built for the Athens games. The list of white elephants is long.


These days the summer Games might generate $5-to-6 billion in total revenue (nearly half of which goes to the International Olympic Committee). In contrast, the costs of the games rose to an estimated $16 billion in Athens, $40 billion in Beijing, and reportedly nearly $20 billion in London. Only some of this investment is tied up in infrastructure projects that may be useful going forward.

The high costs are bound to make hosting the Olympics a bad deal in the short-run. Promoters, however, claim that there is a strong benefit that accrues over time connected to the advertising effect of hosting the games. The idea is that the hundreds of hours of television exposure to hundreds of millions of viewers around the globe will generate increased tourism and business for the city.

It's a lovely idea, but there is little evidence that it pans out. Whether or not the city receives a positive PR boost from the TV exposure itself is uncertain. Should the Games be plagued by disorganization (e.g., the current security snafu in London), the pervasive pollution of Beijing, the violence of Munich, Mexico City or Atlanta, or the corruption scandals of Salt Lake City and Nagano, then the PR effect might be negative. Further, many of the host cities are already well-known as tourist destinations around the world and the notion that hosting the Olympics will put them on the map is about as implausible as Mitt Romney calling for national health care.

It should be added that there is little evidence that tourism increases during the Games. Rather, Olympic tourists replace normal tourists who want to stay away to avoid the congestion and greater expense during the Games.

Finally, it would appear that most of the positive developmental functions that could be associated with the Olympics, could also occur absent the Olympics. The needed infrastructural investments could be made, the national airline could offer reduced rates for stays of over one week, trade missions could multiply their efforts, and so on. Of course, it is always possible that a proactive, efficient government in a potential-laden, burgeoning city could use the Olympics to boost its fortunes. Barcelona ran up a reported $6 billion debt to host the 1992 Games, but the city's image gained enormously and tourism has since flourished. The stars all aligned and Barcelona is arguably a case in point for Olympics promoters. Whether or not Barcelona would have experienced its favorable development without the Games, we'll never know.

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.

About the Author

  • Andrew Zimbalist
    Andrew Zimbalist is an economics professor at Smith College. His most recent book, International Handbook on the Economics of Mega Sporting Events, was published by Edward Elgar this year.
    Andrew Zimbalist received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1969 and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1972 and 1974 respectively. He has been in the Economics Department at Smith College since 1974 and has been a visiting professor at Hamburg University (2011), Doshisha University in Kyoto Japan (2007), the University of Geneva (2003), at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan (1985), and a visiting research fellow at Harvard University (1980). He presently is the Robert A. Woods professor of economics at Smith College and a member of the Five College Graduate Faculty.

    Dr. Zimbalist was editor of a book series on "The Political Economy of Development in Latin America" for Westview Press from 1987 through 1994. He chaired the Latin American Scholars' Association's Task Force on Scholarly Relations with Cuba during 1992-94. He testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the economic effects of U.S. policy toward Cuba in March 1994 and participated in the congressional program of the Aspen Institute as an expert on the Cuban economy. Dr. Zimbalist has consulted in Latin America for the United Nations Development Program, the Atlantic Council, IRELA, the Economist Intelligence Unit and the U.S. Agency for International Development as well as for numerous companies around investment in Latin America.

    Dr. Zimbalist has served as a consultant to Weil, Gotshal & Manges in the litigation of the NFL Players' Association to obtain free agency rights, to Grippo & Elden in the broadcasting case between WGN and the NBA, to Williams, Youle & Koenigs in the Denver Zephyrs' arbitration case with the Colorado Rockies, to Robert Pearl in the Billy Martin case, to the Cunningham Law Group in the Morsani/MLB litigation, to Campbell, Maack & Sessions in the Portland Beavers/Pacific Coast League arbitration case, to Wendell, Chritton & Parks in the Florida State League/Florida Marlins arbitration case, to the Major League Baseball Players' Association in collective bargaining, to ABRY Communications in a baseball broadcasting suit, to Robert Bell in the Marianne Stanley v. USC case, to the United Baseball League, to Krendl, Horowitz and Krendl in Ehrhardt v. Colorado Rockies, to the Portland Oregon Mayor's Commission on bringing another professional sports team to the city, to Wolff Associates in an effort to purchase a sports franchise, to Husch & Eppenberger representing the St. Louis stadium authority in an antitrust case against the NFL, to Rose, Sundstrom & Bentley in Tampa stadium case, to the Connecticut Democratic Party in evaluating the economics of a proposal to build a new civic center, to the IRS in franchise asset evaluation, to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in drafting bill for partially lifting baseball’s antitrust exemption as it applies to labor relations, to Davis, Scott, Weber & Edwards in a sports facility case, to the Los Angeles Mayor’s office in an arena financing matter, to the Department of Justice in a sports franchise valuation case, to the National Basketball Players’ Association in collective bargaining, to the City of New York Independent Budget Office in sports facility matter, to Rabinowitz, Boudin et al. in a copyright case, to the National Hockey Players’ Association in a franchise financial analysis, to Weil, Gotshal & Manges as a damage expert in a challenge to the monopolization of the major league soccer labor market, to Leboeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae in a baseball franchise value case, to Kohrman, Jackson & Krantz in an NFL/consumer rights case, to Greenbaum, Doll & McDonald in a sports antitrust case, to Menard, Murphy and Walsh in sports facility/eminent domain case, to Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman in NFL antitrust case, to the Wisconsin Governor’s office pertaining to public contribution to new stadium for the Green Bay Packers, to Sills, Cummis, et al. in tax case involving the New Jersey Nets, to U.S. Department of Justice in tax case involving several baseball teams, to Shugart, Thomson and Kilroy in NFL franchise valuation case, to Boies, Schiller & Flexner in NFL ownership/franchise valuation case, to Henry Klein in an NFL/consumer rights case, to Thorsnes, Bartolotta & McGuire in sports broadcasting antitrust case, to Modern Continental in a stadium construction matter, to Boies, Schiller & Flexner in a broadcasting case, to the Minneapolis Metropolitan Sports Facilities Corporation against MLB’s contraction efforts, to Boyle et al. in sports injury case, to McLaughlin, Gouldborne & Cohen in minor league baseball facilities case, to the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in sports antitrust matters, to Furnier & Thomas in a sports stadium matter, to the NCAA in financial analysis of intercollegiate athletics, to Brascher Law in sports damages case, to Marcus Katz in sports league matter, to McKinsey & Company in college sports matter, to Bruce Ratner/Forest City in development matter, to Wisconsin State Legislature in team and stadium matter, to Dewey Ballantine in an antitrust matter concerning college sports, to Boies, Schiller and Flexner in an NFL ownership case, to Chip Meyers in boxing league venture, to ESPN in special program development, to WUSA in developing a business plan for the relaunch of the league, to McDonald & Hayden in NHL financial matter, District of Columbia’s Controller’s Office in stadium matter, to the San Francisco Giants in a stadium matter, to Waite, Schneider, Bayless & Chesley in a stadium matter and an antitrust case involving Nascar, to the city of Anaheim in a stadium matter, to Jackson County, Mo. in a stadium matter, to Rainey Kaiser in stadium matter in Jackson, Tennessee, to Magna Entertainment in horse racing matter, to Harrah’s in entertainment development matter, to Citigroup clients on franchise purchase, to the NJSEA on stadium matter, to Michael Best LLP in franchise valuation matter, to various MLB teams and entities, to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in assessing the economic impact of an Olympics bid, to Weil, Gotshal & Manges in matter involving an NBA basketball team, to Barnes & Thornburg in antitrust matter involving the men’s professional tennis tour, to the city of Seattle in a sports facility matter, to Jones Day in NHL antitrust matter, to Flaherty, Sensabaugh & Bonasso in a college head coach liquidated damages case, to the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics on college sports finances and reform, to Squire, Sanders & Dempsey in a franchise relocation matter, to Richard Rodier and Dewey Ballantine in an NHL franchise valuation matter, to an owner of a major league baseball team in franchise valuation, to Northlands in an arena matter in Edmonton, Canada, to the U.S. Department of Justice in a college sports antitrust matter to the city of Ottawa, Canada in a stadium matter, to Major League Baseball's Office of the Commissioner in the design of revenue sharing systems, to Hausfeld, LLP in NFL mediation over work stoppage, as well as to several other companies in the area of sports economics. He also consulted for the nine-part documentary on baseball in America by Ken Burns, and on his 2010 sequel “The 10th Inning” on the baseball industry since 1992. He testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in December 1992 in hearings on baseball's antitrust exemption, before the N.Y. State Senate on public policy toward minor league baseball in February 1993, provided written testimony to the House Judiciary Committee in its consideration of the Bunnings/Synar bill to limit MLB's anti-trust exemption in September 1994, testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in January 1996 at hearings on the future of professional sports leagues, testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in February 1996 at hearings on antitrust implications of professional sports franchise relocation, testified before the New York State Senate on the economic impact of sports franchises and stadiums on cities in April 1996, testified before the U.S. House Commerce Committee in May 1996 at hearings on the “Fan Freedom and Community Protection Act of 1996,” provided written testimony to the Connecticut State Legislature in December 1998 on the proposal to bring the New England Patriots to Hartford, testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in June 1999 at hearings on sports antitrust policy and stadium financing, testified before the Springfield City Council in July 1999 on public subsidies for the construction of a minor league stadium, testified before the Philadelphia City Council in June 2000 on pubic subsidies for stadium construction, provided written testimony to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in November 2000 at hearings on the economics of baseball, testified before the Knight Commission on College Athletic Reform in November 2000 and October 2008, provided written testimony to the Ways and Means Committee of the Boston City Council on the economic impact of a new baseball stadium, and testified before the U.S. Department of Education’s Commission of Gender Equity in College Athletics in November 2002. He has made presentations to the NCAA Title IX Seminar and to the NCAA Convention, to the Aspen Institute’s Ideas Festival, to the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, and to numerous national and international business, journalistic and academic organizations. He has served as a member of the Advisory Board, Museum of the City of New York, exhibit on baseball in New York, 1947-1957, on the Board of Advisers of the Israeli Baseball League, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Vintage Baseball Federation. He serves on the faculty board of the College Sports Research Institute at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He was selected as one of America’s Top 100 Most Influential Sports Educators by the Institute for International Sport and is listed in Who’s Who in America.

    Dr. Zimbalist has published twenty books and several dozen articles primarily in the areas of comparative economic systems, economic development and sports economics. The second edition of his co-authored textbook Comparing Economic Systems was published by Harcourt, Brace and Javonovich in February 1989 and his The Cuban Economy: Measurement and Analysis of Socialist Performance (with Swedish economist, Claes Brundenius) was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in November 1989. His book Panama at the Crossroads: Economic and Political Development in the Twentieth Century (with Professor John Weeks of the University of London) was published in June 1991 by the University of California Press.

    In September 1992 Dr. Zimbalist published his widely-acclaimed Baseball and Billions: A Probing Look Inside the Big Business of Our National Pastime, with Basic Books, a subsidiary of Harper Collins. Business Week listed Baseball and Billions as one of the top eight business books of 1992. The Japanese edition was published by Dobunshoin in July 1993 and an expanded paperback edition was published in March 1994 by Basic Books.

    In October 1997, Dr. Zimbalist published Sports, Jobs and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums with the Brookings Institution Press, which he co-edited and co-authored with Roger Noll, from Stanford University. The Wall Street Journal called Sports, Jobs and Taxes “must reading for people living in or around any city still targeted for stadium-building” The National Tax Journal called it “a persuasive compendium of theoretical, empirical and case study evidence on the economics of subsidies for sports stadiums and teams.” It was selected by Lingua Franca as a Breakthrough Book.

    Dr. Zimbalist’s 1999 book, Unpaid Professionals: Commercialization and Conflict in Big-Time College Sports, was published by Princeton University Press in September of that year. Business Week called it “complete and authoritative” and The New York Times wrote “In remarkably clear and clear-eyed prose (even his charts are readable), Zimbalist follows the money instead of the ball in the emotion-charged world of college sports.” The Washington Post Book World wrote: “Zimbalist got game. This book … is a solid analysis of a segment of American life that Zimbalist claims is in dire need of reform. After reading this book you’ll find it hard to disagree with him. One of its virtues is its tone. Zimbalist’s wry sense of humor is evident throughout.” The Baltimore Sun called it “excellent … readable, solidly researched and adds great clarity to a muddy debate …. Zimbalist proposes a sensible 10-part reform plan that would preserve a place on college rosters for genuine student-athletes.” It has been selected by Lingua Franca as a Breakthrough Book. An expanded and updated paperback edition of Unpaid Professionals will be published in January 2001.

    In the Summer of 2001 Zimbalist published The Economics of Sport I & II, which is part of the Edward Elgar series entitled The International Library of Critical Writings in Economics, edited by Mark Blaug. He was the guest editor and a contributor to the May 2002 special issue of the Journal of Sports Economics on competitive balance.

    Dr. Zimbalist’s May The Best Team Win: Baseball Economics and Public Policy, with a foreword by Bob Costas, was published by the Brookings Institution Press in April 2003. Early reviews of the book include the following. “May the Best Team Win is a great book—just the latest indication of why I tell my students at Harvard that Andrew Zimbalist is the top sports economist in the country.”—Paul Weiler, Friendly Professor of Law and chair Sports and Entertainment Law, Harvard University. “...Interesting, insightful, and revealing .... It will become the ultimate book on the economics of professional sports. You will find it as riveting as I did.” —Pat Williams, senior vice president, Orlando Magic. “An absorbing, provocative discussion.” —Publishers' Weekly. “In this excellent book, Andrew Zimbalist describes the action in the business of baseball like it was the seventh game of the World Series—which it is.” —Clark Griffith, former owner, Minnesota Twins. “Zimbalist writes with obvious love, but deep concern for our national pastime.” —Chris Berman, ESPN. “Exhilarating. Combines an academic’s precision with a fan’s passion.” — Allen Barra, author and sportswriter, New York Times. “Should be required reading for politicians. Zimbalist’s analysis is easily accessible, his data quite interesting and his judgments evenhanded to a fault.” — Washington Post. “These days a typical owner will rake in big money, claim he’s nearly broke and then threaten to move unless his host city subsidizes a new stadium at taxpayer expense. If you think this is an exaggeration, read Zimbalist’s brilliantly researched study on the economics of the game.” — Charles Hirshberg, Sports Illustrated. “I highly recommend Andrew Zimbalist’s new book, May the Best Team Win.” —ROB NEYER, “My daydream . . . is that somehow every sports talk show host and every caller to such a show might mysteriously find himself or herself reading this illuminating book. That development would decrease the dumbness quotient of discussions between the former and the latter by about 99%.” —Bill Littlefield, NPR’s Only a Game. “Zimbalist offers a whirlwind tour of baseball chicanery. Concise and coherent. Anyone who hold an opinion on the state of the game, or fears its demise, owes it to himself or herself to take Professor Zimbalist’s 224-page class. ” Jon Morgan, Baltimore Sun. Given Silver Award by ForeWord Magazine in their Book of the Year Award in Business and Economics. Zimbalist demolishes Commission Bud Selig’s claim made before Congress that baseball’s 30 teams lost $519 million in 2001…. A compelling critique.” -- Glenn Altschuler, Barron’s. An expanded, updated paperback edition of the May the Best Team Win was published in April 2004 by the Brookings Institution Press.

    Dr. Zimbalist’s book, National Pastime: How Americans Play Baseball and the Rest of the World Plays Soccer, co-authored with Stefan Szymanski, was published by Brookings in April 2005. It was awarded the 2005 prize for Outstanding Academic Title by Choice, the major review journal of the American Library Association. Reviews of the book included: “A superb new book…” — The Economist. "Baseball is America's national pastime, but soccer is the world's sporting passion. Whether you prefer Beckham or Bonds, the Boston Red Sox or Manchester United, you will be enlightened by this examination of the similarities and differences as seen by two of the sharpest minds in the field of sports business.” — BOB COSTAS, NBC and HBO Sports. “National Pastime is the first serious attempt at bridging the cultural gap between these two worlds of sport. It’s also a great deal of fun, written with the understanding of scholars and the passion of fans. The book brings light to a subject which up to now has produced mostly heat.” — ALLEN BARRA, Wall Street Journal. "Fascinating reading for fans and sports business industry professionals alike. The book gives a comprehensive overview of the commercial histories and complicated economic dynamics of two of the world’s most important sports. The comparison between the two creates a unique perspective and enables the reader to understand the issues at stake with much greater insight." — ARNE REES, UEFA Head of Strategy and Business Development. “A detailed, thoughtful analysis on one of the great mysteries in sports — why baseball is popular in America while soccer reigns in the rest of the world. "National Pastime" is a revealing look at both sports, detailing everything from economic history to issues of competitive balance. It brings to mind a classic lyric by Bob Dylan: “Don't criticize what you can't understand.” — KEN ROSENTHAL, Sporting News. "In this era of globalization, baseball and soccer transcend national borders like never before. Szymanski and Zimbalist wonderfully weave cross-cultural comparisons and tales of evolution that will leave you with a refreshingly new perspective on leagues and how they are structured." -- JULIE FOUDY, recently retired captain, U.S. Soccer team. "I knew in advance this was going to be a very good work. As it turns out, National Pastime is truly wonderful, not just very good. It will have broad appeal, enlightening sports scholars and commentators as well as executives in each sport in different countries about the nature of any problems they are now exhibiting." -- PAUL C. WEILER, Harvard Law School. “The book has few shortcomings and many strengths, not least of them keen insights and a readable stem-to-stern account of similarities and differences in the evolution, structures, and problems with arguably the globe’s two most important sports.” — Choice. “… fascinating new book.” — John Haydon, Washington Times. “As one has come to expect form the authors, the book is logically sound, and loaded with facts and illustrative anecdotes. The prose steers clear of professional jargon while remaining true to the authors’ training in economics. The end result is an entertaining and informative book. It will appeal to lay readers … as well as professionally-trained economists”. — Phil Miller,

    Dr. Zimbalist’s book, In the Best Interests of Baseball? The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig was published by Wiley, in April 2006. Reviews on this book include the following:
    “Andrew Zimbalist has done a very credible, eminently readable and engaging job describing MLB's commissioners, particularly Bud Selig, who easily has become the most significant figure in baseball in decades. While Selig will not necessarily share all of Zimbalist's views about the game, In the Best Interests of Baseball has thoughtfully, and perhaps uniquely, tracked many of the thorny issues that Selig confronted during baseball's new golden era.” — John Moores, owner of the Padres and member of MLB's Executive Council. “Baseball books, like the game itself, are often replete with errors. But Andrew Zimbalist has written a carefully researched yet lively review of the record of the nine Commissioners that is both fair and accurate. It is long overdue and a superb read.” -- Fay Vincent, former commissioner of baseball. “I always thought Yogi Berra was the wisest source on baseball, but Zimbalist has hit a grand slam here.” -- Tom Werner, owner of the Red Sox, former owner of the Padres. "Once again, Andy Zimbalist proves that no one understands the mysterious inner workings of the best game on earth better than he does. With energy, thoughtfulness and passion, he has parsed the complicated world of baseball and shown how important its business side is to its soul -- and its survival." -- Ken Burns. " Tremendously enjoyable and a must read for baseball fans. Guaranteed to raise the level of discourse on sports-talk radio." -- Jim Bouton, former Yankee pitcher and author of Ball Four. "By looking at baseball from the perspective of the commissioner's office and its many challenges, Professor Zimbalist has been able to use his scholar's eye and his fan's heart to see the game as an ongoing enterprise that needs refreshment. The fair but unsparing portrait of Bud Selig he paints is of a man who is nobody's fool, and nobody's tool--and now, those of us who love the game need him to start the rally that will restore baseball in America's esteem." -- Scott Simon, NPR anchor.

    Dr. Zimbalist’s book, The Bottom Line: Observations and Arguments on the Sports Business, was published by Temple University Press in August 2006. Advance praise on this book includes:
    "Very few academics treat sport as seriously as it deserves. And precious few of them keep their subject interesting. Andrew Zimbalist is royalty in this small kingdom." - Franklin Foer, author, How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization. “Andrew Zimbalist has taken important topics and given us a thoughtful, fascinating, and deeply prepared discussion of the games we hold so dear.” — Lesley Visser, CBS Sportscaster. “Andrew Zimbalist is one of the best writers among economists working today, and he provides insightful analysis on interesting subjects. The essays in this book provide a narrative history of recent events in the sports business and contain a wealth of information…. I recommend this book.” — Brad Humphreys, economics professor, University of Illinois.

    His book (with Nancy Hogshead-Makar) Equal Play: Title IX and Social Change was published by Temple University Press in October 2007. Early reviews include: “Equal Play is a gem. Two nationally respected Title IX experts have teamed up to accurately portray the origins of Title IX, the impact of its application and the complexity of the issue of gender equality…. The result is an insightful analysis of the difficulties encountered when federal social justice legislation challenges the culturally ingrained sexism of American sport.” — Donna Lopiano, former CEO, Women’s Sport Foundation. “For any student of the history and arguments about Title IX, Equal Play is immensely valuable. It is a comprehensive and authoritative summary in support of young women’s athletic rights.” — Frank Deford. “Equal Play should be required reading in all history classes across this country. Nancy Hogshead-Makar and Andrew Zimbalist do a wonderful job…” — Julie Foudy.

    Circling the Bases: Essays on the Challenges and Prospects of the Sports Industry, will be published by Temple University Press in November 2010. Early reviews include: “Andrew Zimbalist's essays in Circling the Bases are not only original, thoughtful and provocative, but they are valuable in showing, again and again, whether in collegiate or professional sports or in the Olympic ‘movement,’ that so much accepted wisdom about sports economics is, in fact, false. Zimbalist is the best in his field, and he has never spoken so clearly in both dollars and sense.” — Frank Deford, Sports Illustrated. “Andy Zimbalist is a hall-of -famer in the economic analysis of sport. Here he shows yet again how economic principles can be used to understand the issues, from steroids to stadium finance, from gate revenues to gender equality. Required reading.” — Stefan Szymanski, Professor of Economics at Cass Business School, City University London. “The business of sports is complex—more complex than many fans and journalists recognize. Andrew Zimbalist, alone among economists, understands the industry's unique dynamics. In Circling the Bases, Zimbalist explores the state of both collegiate and professional sports in shifting economic, broadcast and labor landscapes. Every page is enlightening, even for those of us who cover sports for a living.” — Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports.

    He is currently working on a book on the economics of mega sporting events with Wolfgang Maennig of the University of Hamburg.

    Dr. Zimbalist’s articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, Finance & Development, The Nation, The Brookings Review, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, US News and World Report, Business Week, USA Today, Foreign Policy, World Development, Brill’s Content, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Seton Hall Journal of Sports Law, Le Monde Diplomatique, Latin American Research Review, Journal of Latin American Studies, Journal of Sports Economics, Journal of Economic Perspectives, The Milken Institute Review, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Sports Business Journal, Journal of Urban Economics, Harvard Business Review, the IMF’s Finance and Development, America's Quartery, and the New York Times Magazine, among other places. He has appeared on numerous national radio and television talk shows discussing both international economics and the economics of sports and is an active participant on the lecture circuit. He wrote the foreword to the second edition of Bob Costas’ Fair Ball, is a contributing columnist for the Sports Business Journal and was chosen as the 1998 sports journalist of the year by the Village Voice. He did a bi-weekly commentary on the business of sports for NPR’s Marketplace during 2002-2004. PBS’ Wall Street Week with Fortune introduced him as the country’s leading sports economist. He serves as a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Sports Economics, as well as the journals Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, Sports Technology and Base Ball: A Journal of the Early Game.

    Dr. Zimbalist lives with his wife and children in Northampton, Ma.