Texas Liberal

All People Matter

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 The economy was growing, Riverfront Stadium was outdated and the Bengals were hinting that they would move, as the Browns had done.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 »

  1. I don’t know if the Bengals screwed the taxpayers or if the taxpayers screwed themselves. How long do you think the elected officials who “lost the Bengals” would have stayed in office if they hadn’t rolled over for the team? The Bengals are a business and, as such, can be expected to try to maximize their profits. Businesses will always try to negotiate the best deal they can, and the Bengals merely took advantage of Cincinnati’s low municipal self-esteem and Cincinnatians’ mistaken belief that major league sports franchises make a major league city. The Bengals did their job, which is to maximize profits. It’s really the people who didn’t do their job of protecting the public trust by handing the Bengals this ridiculous deal that deserve your scorn and hatred.

    Comment by Brendan | January 10, 2010

  2. Brendan—Thanks for your insightful comment.

    Everything you say is true. I’d just say that whatever the conventional ethics are on the matter (or lack of ethics), that just because you can cheat taxpayers does not mean you should.

    Also, once you do cheat taxpayers, you could at least try to win some games.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | January 10, 2010

  3. I voted against Reliant stadium and the deal to land a new team in Houston. At least we got a Super Bowl out of the deal and will likely get one again soon as Reliant has proved to be a good stadium and our local bar and sex-work culture kept everyone happy.

    Comment by Bacopa | January 12, 2010

  4. cincinnati is rotting pumpkin, rotting from the inside out. the taxpayers here are absolutely off track on every thing they vote for, against schools, against hospitals, for sports. brendan was right the idoits thought a winning team would somehow translate into a winning people. the people win when the respect and help the people that live in thier very city.

    Comment by bill brady | January 22, 2010


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