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Sonics trial blog

Seattle PI reporter Gary Washburn is covering the Sonics trial with a blog. It was there that I first noticed that Andy Zimbalist was serving as an expert for the city of Seattle. Various reports have him receiving a "rough welcome" or being "crossed up" by the Sonics' attorney. From the sound of it, this might have made good theater. But all the hubbub stemmed from Zimbalist's use of boilerplate in this report and another one he had written for the L.A. Angels.

Curiously, the most informative description of the testimony comes in a comment (#139847) on Washburn's blog. This refers to testimony on the intangible value (apart from direct and indirect economic impact) that a popular sports team can have on a town.

3:09 p.m. - After going through his background a little more, questioning begins about the intangible benefits of a pro sports teams, which Zimbalist says includes cultural enrichment, a sense of community, bridging economic gaps (he uses an example of a taxi driver, a doctor, a lawyer can all be in an elevator and have...

3:15 p.m. - Zimbalist goes through three types of intangibles: 1. Consumer surplus - when a person buys a product for less than they're willing to pay. He uses the example of getting a Sonics ticket for $30 when you'd be willing to pay $50. 2. Externality -- Someone goes to a game but you don't, but the person that went tells you what happened. 3. Public good - Zimbalist says a sports team is something everyone can share in and it's not exclusive to anyone.

I have no idea where the commenter gets this, and a google search links back only to Washburn's blog. But it might as well have come from one of Zimbalist's books -- that is the sense in which boilerplate can have its place in these settings.

Up next: Brad Humphreys.

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