Texas Liberal

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Despite Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars In Free Money Gained By Blackmailing The Public For A New Stadium, The Cincinnati Bengals Lose and Lose And Lose

The Cincinnati Bengals have lost their  playoff game this evening and have been eliminated for the season.

The Bengals have not won a playoff game since 1991.

(Above—Riverfront Stadium being imploded in 2002. The stadium was barely over 30 years old. Surely the Bengals could have gone on losing just as easily in the old stadium as they have in the new Paul Brown Stadium.)

In the 1990’s, the Bengals set a record for most losses by an NFL team in one decade.

In the decade just completed, the Bengals had only two winning seasons.

The Bengals keep losing and losing despite a massive and obscene public subsidy the team received in the form of a free stadium built by the taxpayers of Hamilton County, Ohio.

From a recent New York Times story about the free stadium—

“The 1996 proposal to build stadiums for the Bengals and the Reds had plenty of proponents. The economy was growing, Riverfront Stadium was outdated and the Bengals were hinting that they would move, as the Browns had done. The plan went awry almost from the start. The football stadium exceeded its budget by $50 million, forcing the county to issue more bonds. Forecasts for growth in the sales tax turned out to be too rosy. The teams received sweetheart leases. In 2000, voters threw out the county commissioners who cut the deal. That year the sales tax grew 1.8 percent, the first of many years below the 3 percent forecast. Both stadiums were originally expected to cost $500 million combined. Yet Paul Brown Stadium alone cost $455 million and the Great American Ballpark, the Reds’ home a few hundred yards down the Ohio River, cost $337 million by the time it opened in 2003. The generous deal for the Bengals has been a sore spot. The team had to pay rent only through 2009 on its 26-year lease, and has to cover the cost of running the stadium only for game days. Starting in 2017, the county will reimburse the team for these costs, too. The county will pay $8.5 million this year to keep the stadium going. The Bengals keep revenue from naming rights, advertising, tickets, suites and most parking. If the county wants to recoup money by taxing tickets, concessions or parking, it needs the team’s approval. Compared with the lucrative deals for teams in Baltimore, St. Louis and elsewhere, the Bengals won a particularly lopsided lease.”

Here is the full story.

I lived in Cincinnati when the Bengals signed the lease. At the time, the team was threatening to move to another city.

Despite all the free money the Bengals got by blackmailing the public, they are not able to put a good team on the field.

Or maybe the folks who run the Bengals feel they don’t have to try to win since the money will keep on rolling in regardless of winning or losing.

Now Bengals fans in Hamilton County can enjoy a long off-season of seeing what county services are cut to help pay for the stadium and to help further subsidize the Bengals’ losing ways.

January 10, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 4 Comments