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Cincinnati Bengals Paul Brown Stadium Deal One Of The Worst Deals Ever—16.4% Of Hamilton County Budget

Now here is a shocker from Cincinnati TV station WLWT—-

“Hamilton County’s stadium deal with the Cincinnati Bengals is among the worst ever struck by a local government with a professional sports team, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The newspaper reports that the county spent $34.6 million on the stadium last year, which is about 16.4 percent of the county’s total budget, and a property tax rollback included in the original deal is draining additional revenue.Hamilton County voters passed a half-cent sales tax increase in 1996 to help fund construction on the stadium, which opened in 2000, and Great American Ball Park, which opened in 2003.  To help entice voters into supporting the sales tax hike, county commissioners at the time agreed to roll back property taxes beginning this year. But sales tax revenues did not keep pace with projections, and the county faced bankruptcy if it did not negotiate additional payments from the Bengals and Reds – and reduce the amount of taxes to be rolled back. Under the deal reached in December, about 25 percent of the property tax rollback was retained, meaning homeowners will pay an additional $40 to $45 for every $100,000 of home value. The report says the stadium cost far more than its $280 million budget, although the county and team offer differing figures. Hamilton County officials say the final cost was $454 million, while the team claims the cost was $350 million without infrastructure work around the stadium, the newspaper reports.”

I was in the Cincinnati City Council Chamber when the council–by a 5-4 vote–approved the transfer of land that helped make the stadium deal possible. I’m glad to say that the councilmember I worked for at the time voted no.

I’ve written about this matter from time-to-time over the years. I’m sure I will again. I’ll know I’ll not change anything about how the Bengals operate. Why should they change when they keep getting all the taxpayer dollars and don’t have to put a good team on the field?

Yet still, I’m going to keep writing about this issue.

(Below–A picture I took earlier this year of the Cincinnati Bengals underwater from Ohio River flooding just like Hamilton County taxpayers are underwater everyday from the stadium deal. Photo copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.)  

July 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

If Just For A Brief Time, Cincinnati Bengals Join Hamilton County Taxpayers Underwater

Above is an entrance to Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Cincinnati Bengals, underwater from Ohio River flooding.

I took this picture last week. You can see the Bengal’s logo in the water.

This picture is very fitting because the taxpayers of Hamilton County, Ohio remain underwater for one of the worst publicly-financed stadium deals ever.

Despite the public subsidy, the Bengals lose year after year.

I told you so. I voted no at the ballot box in 1997. I told anybody who would listen that the public subsidy for a stadium was wrong and that the Bengals were a bad outfit.

I know it is not polite—But in this one case I just have to tell you that I told you so.

(Photo copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.)

March 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Despite Massive Public Subsidy For Stadium, Cincinnati Bengals Are Terrible Year After Year

Despite a massive public subsidy from the taxpayers of Hamilton County, Ohio to build a stadium, the Cincinnati Bengals football team have posted 0 wins and 4 defeats so far in the 2008 NFL season. This is a terrible record.

Not only are the Bengals terrible in 2008, the Bengals have had only one winning season in the past 17 years. 

The Bengals are possibly the worst team in all of professional sports. They may also be worse than any college, amateur or pee wee team.

This is the ninth season the Bengals have played in Paul Brown Stadium. This stadium has been paid for with hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. In these nine seasons, the Bengals have had one winning year. What a lousy team. They’ve let down the public in so many ways. With a free stadium, can’t they put a winning team on the field?

When Paul Brown Stadium was funded, at knifepoint as the Bengals threatened to move to another city, a lot of fuss was made about how the new stadium would economically benefit Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Has any public official who supported the deal ever checked back to see if the deal has really paid off for the people of Cincinnati and Hamilton County?

The Cincinnati Bengals stink year after year. They stink even after they are given the advantage of millions of dollars of free public money. 

Above is Paul Brown Stadium along the riverfront in Downtown Cincinnati. Each time I drive past that stadium, as I do in my trips home to Cincinnati, I think of what a failure of imagination and hope for the future it is for a community to spend millions on a football stadium, and not on the needs of average people.   

I think about how the Bengals bullied the public into approving the stadium deal.

And I think about how the Bengals stink year after year after year.

September 30, 2008 Posted by | Cincinnati | , , , , , , | 2 Comments