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Bengals dispute stadium article

Cedric Benson AP

It should come as no surprise the Bengals came out strongly against a Wall St. Journal article we mentioned this morning that called the agreement to build Paul Brown Stadium one of the worst ever struck by a local government.

The Bengals sent the Journal a five-page response to the article, and forwarded that response to PFT.  It’s a two-page letter, with a three-page addendum simply listing the factual inaccuracies they believe are in the article.  (Some of them are convincing.)  They accuse the article of bias, although clearly the Bengals have more of an agenda than the reporter.

The gist of the letter can be summed up by the following sentence from Bengals VP Troy Blackburn.

“In the 15 years since the deal was put in place, a funny thing happened on the way to the forum: the local government took money intended for the stadia and spent it on other projects,” Blackburn writes.

Some of these projects, as listed by Blackburn, include a new highway project, an urban redevelopment project, and enhanced funding for public schools.   (Silly stuff like that.)

Basically, the Bengals are blaming the government for the deal.  We don’t disagree with the premise that it’s essentially the government’s fault for bending to the will of the Bengals and misappropriating funds.

There are simply more important things for government to spend on than sports stadiums.  We suspect the NFL would find a way to survive without so much public help in the future.

UPDATE: On a related note, the Hamilton County will vote Wednesday whether to spend $307,000 to replace the Bengals’ instant replay system.  Because that would be a crazy thing for the team to pay for.

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30 Responses to “Bengals dispute stadium article”
  1. cincinnasti says: Jul 12, 2011 5:54 PM

    Mike Brown told the Enquirer that he needed this new stadium to field a competitive team. Can someone ask him where that team is?

  2. Vegas Guy says: Jul 12, 2011 5:55 PM

    And.. again.. the point of all this is that the Bengals were supposed to become competitive by getting a new stadium. While the “local government” were out spending money on “other projects” the Bengals were NOT spending money where they needed to be spending it (GM, Scouts, taking care of their players like other teams do).

    A competitive Cincinnati team could well have been a boon for the community as a whole.

  3. dldove77 says: Jul 12, 2011 5:58 PM

    What was the Bengals bargaining chip when it came time to make the city pay for the stadium? ‘We’ll leave?’ Not much of a bargaining chip if you ask me. Seems like the Cincinnati government is run just as backwards as the Bengals.

  4. hlmatty1 says: Jul 12, 2011 6:02 PM

    The gist of the article is that the stadium runs a deficit so that more and more of the funds of the County go to pay that deficit. What the Bengals are saying is that there was a specific half-cent increase in the sales tax in Hamilton County to fund the cost of the stadium — including bond repayment, interest, and operations. If the County took the money which was to pay those expenses and paid others — no matter how worhthy– the County cannot blame the deal for its financial mistakes.

    The truth is the County also paid for the building of a stadium for the Reds at the same time — who have stunk in that period even more so than the Reds (worse, they promised they would be competitive by the time they opened the stadium and two months after they did, the Reds — while being owned by a literal billionaire — traded anyone on the team who made more than $1.50).

  5. djrigg0616 says: Jul 12, 2011 6:19 PM

    In addition to asking for more money to update the replay system, they want more money to “upgrade” other things including the same crappy opening animation they’ve used since the stadium opened in 2000, and the commons area that looks like the inside of a prison.

    I’m a Bengals fan, and stories like this are just embarrassing.

  6. Soulman45 says: Jul 12, 2011 6:20 PM

    Tax payers should have nothing to do with the NFL and their building any thing.

  7. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Jul 12, 2011 6:25 PM

    “although clearly the Bengals have more of an agenda than the reporter.”

    Maybe not. If you were a football junkie writer living and rooting for the Bungles over the past 20 years one might develop quite the agenda. Maybe said writer is close to Carlson Palmer?

  8. nolanorth says: Jul 12, 2011 6:31 PM

    Cheapest man in sports!

  9. Kevin C says: Jul 12, 2011 6:37 PM

    I’m a huge football fan… but this concept of the community funding professional football stadiums ticks me off. The NFL has the wherewithal to finance its own stadiums.

  10. cdwains says: Jul 12, 2011 6:40 PM

    The city and the Fans were caught between a rock and a hard place. Mike Brown and company had implied (or threatened) to move the team if a new stadium was not built. Riverfront Stadium was the reason the Bengals were unable to field a competitive team in the 90′s because it lacked enough seating, and had to few luxury boxes. Fan’s fearing the NFL would abandon the city much like the Royals of the NBA did so long ago, they caved to a bad bad deal. I would argue that Bengal’s fans are the most loyal fans in all of sports, but unfortunately for us our loyalty has been repaid by Mike Brown and family offering up 6 non- losing season’s in the 21 seasons they have run the team. Just 2 of those seasons the Bengals actually had winning records. 2 one and done playoff appearances, both of which were home games. That’s what the Brown family calls competitive football.

  11. joshsports6000 says: Jul 12, 2011 6:41 PM

    Sorry, I will never be able to take the bengals seriously ever again. Not because of this, but because of Carson Palmer. A quarterback, in his early thirties, would rather retire than play another down for the team. Say what you will about the Raiders and Al Davis, but he has always given a crap about putting a product on the field. Palmer obviously can’t stand Mike Brown because he is a complete and utter joke of an owner.

  12. ohiodeerhunter says: Jul 12, 2011 6:49 PM

    Mike Brown has everyone hoodwinked. Why in the world do people buy tickets to Bengals games? I’m a fan but you have to draw the line somewhere.

  13. cdwains says: Jul 12, 2011 6:51 PM

    dldove77 : The Bengals held a big chip, think about all the money the is funneled into the economies of NFL cities. They would have been losing a team, and hundreds of millions of dollars by the lack of the team. I will give you the city of Cincinnati is poorly run, but to that I say look around you, not to many cities are thriving, the country as a whole is in the crapper. One more note on the deal, Bob Bedinghaus negotiated the deal for the city, the ink was barely dry on the new stadium deal when Bedinghaus resigned his position with the local government and took a job with………… You guessed it the Cincinnati Bengals. And that my friends is the reason governments across the country especially our federal government is failing………Corruption!

  14. cdwains says: Jul 12, 2011 6:54 PM

    Carson Palmer’s has provided the most damning indictment there is. For a man to walk away from 50 million dollars, because he doesnt like the way the Mike Brown runs the show, tells you all you need to know about this franchise. To bad Marvin Lewis didn’t have the balls to follow through on his hollow vow. I will be anxious to see if Palmer does follow through and retires….

  15. pftstory says: Jul 12, 2011 7:12 PM

    Just because its a urban redevelopment project, a highway project or enhanced funding for public schools it does not mean the money is better spent there. The where how and why matters.

    Dont be so weak to say just because its a school project, you know “for the kids” its better, or even good.

  16. Burritto says: Jul 12, 2011 7:31 PM

    I just moved to Cincinnati and can see Paul Brown Stadium from my balcony. I plan on not giving Mike Brown one (voluntary) cent of my money this season.

  17. daburgher says: Jul 12, 2011 8:20 PM

    Mike Brown should be embarrassed if Palmer retires… sad thing is I dont think he will be

  18. stealthscorpio says: Jul 12, 2011 9:27 PM

    The Bengals are on welfare all the way around. They don’t sell the name to the stadium but have their hand out to the nfl and government.

  19. rcali says: Jul 12, 2011 9:42 PM

    They can’t afford to fix their replay system? With Carson Palmer gone their should be a lot of money to spend.

  20. mikebrowndie says: Jul 12, 2011 9:47 PM

    People can rip Cincinnati and the pathetic owner that is Mike Brown, but the fans loved the team enough to build them a free stadium because Mikey threatened to move the team…..Mike Brown is just the absolute worst…too bad because the fans are legit

  21. nflinla says: Jul 12, 2011 10:43 PM

    Build me a stadium or I’ll leave to LA always works ! Every city is scared of Los Angeles ! Plain and simple !

  22. laxer37 says: Jul 12, 2011 10:47 PM

    Funny how Mike Brown is born into wealth but always pretends like he’s a victim.

    There is a big difference between being smart with your money and being cheap. Mike Brown has never been accused of being smart with his money.

  23. cincy90 says: Jul 12, 2011 10:58 PM

    Not only did Mike Brown hit the sperm lottery but he also benefited greatly on this stadium deal thanks to timing, and Art Model. For many years Mike was grumbling about a new stadium and that he may leave town- but no one believed that it would happen. The rumor was that Baltimore had a deal on the table for the Bengals to move but Mike resisted. When Art finally bit and moved the Browns to Baltimore it shocked everyone. Cincinnatians now believed that he really could/would move the team. If the Browns left Cleveland everyone knew that Mike (born on third and thought he hit a triple) Brown could also leave Cincy. The town and gov officials were all scared that they would leave on their watch. He had a ton of leverage and used to with no shame. And here we are…he’s still the GM…still raking in money…still too cheap to build and indoor practice facility…and still running players out of town almost yearly…. WTF do I still love this team? This is an abusive relationship!

  24. realitypolice says: Jul 13, 2011 12:50 AM

    Bengals fans deserve better.

    Mike Brown is an incompetent fool.

    From refusing to sell the naming rights to the stadium, to having the weakest, most underfunded scouting department in the league, to not having an indoor practice facility, to letting Carson Palmer retire rather than get something for him, it goes on and on.

    You’ve got to vote with your wallets, Bengals fans. Stop feeling good about yourselves for supporting this piece of crap organization and…well, you know……stop supporting this piece of crap organization.

  25. savvybynature says: Jul 13, 2011 1:08 AM

    The brown Hole (as we like to call him) not only hired the guy that negotiated the lease details on the counties behalf, but lied to the Cincinnati public to get them to pass a sales tax increase to pay for his stadium. The offer he claimed to have had from Baltimore was far below what he told the public, documents later released by the Baltimore Stadium Authority revealed. He said the stadium would make them competitive, but has refused to hire a GM to make the football decisions or a real scouting department. He has also refused to build an indoor practice facility, making us the most northern team without one. He won’t even pony up to honor the few great Bengals we’ve had with some kind of display at the stadium. He is the fastest owner in all of professional sports to 200 losses, and the slowest to 100 wins. The team’s winning % under his control is 35.9, pathetic! Yet he pays himself a $1 million bonus every year for his “success” as a GM, The Cincinnati Enquirer revealed. The city deserves better than this penny-pinching liar. The stadium was sold out over 50 games in a row until last year when a few finally realized what a joke he is. I’ve even heard Steeler fans express sympathy for us, a divsion “rival” (hardly). It really is sad. The city takes the blame and the brunt of the jokes but it really is all this man’s fault. Don’t believe me, ask Carson Palmer.

  26. atmedic8daily says: Jul 13, 2011 1:41 AM

    Truck LA

  27. Aaron Bruski says: Jul 13, 2011 4:38 AM

    When can we get real with the issue of supply and demand? America is based on capitalism, and if you believe public funds shouldn’t be used to buy facilities, great — don’t vote for it and vote pols out that do.

    But also don’t be upset if your team leaves for greener pastures, and maintain your right to stop spending time and money toward the league you follow.

    If another city puts together a more compelling package for an owner, and the team/league is willing to live with the negative fallout of moving a team, it is what it is. If a city or region needs to ante up for a facility, they have a choice. Do it or don’t, the only thing that truly matters is whether or not the city and it’s constituents can live with the outcome.

    But saying a team or owner shouldn’t seek public funds is taking supply and demand out of the equation, which is wholly un-American. If you want to argue that we should force socialism onto professional sports leagues, it’s an argument worth having, but it is indeed a separate argument.

  28. blacubed says: Jul 13, 2011 8:25 AM

    While I believe that the stadium deal is certainly on the shady side, I don’t think that the county has done itself many favors since the deal was passed either. The county’s inability to do any development downtown has effectively killed the city, the part of the region that is exploding is outside Hamilton county.

    Another negative for the county is the crime rate is perceived to be high in Cincinnati and that scares the suburbanites from coming into town and spending money there.

    I’m no Mike Brown apologist, I still believe that the day he took over the team is the worst moment in Bengals history in spite of what PFT has to say about it. With that being said Mike Brown is a financial genius. He has one of the most profitable NFL franchises in one of the smallest cities in the NFL.

    Mike Brown knows he doesn’t need Bengals fans to make money. He has NFL welfare checks, the sweetest stadium deal in the country, and he knows that the fine people of Pittsburgh and Cleveland will be more than happy to come to Cincinnati and buy tickets to fill the stadium if Bengals fans won’t. As long as people come, it doesn’t matter what jersey they wear their money all spends the same.

  29. mdnittlion says: Jul 13, 2011 10:20 PM

    Everybody on here mad about public funds for stadiums yet I haven’t heard anyone mention the city of Seattle using federal money to help remodels on the University of Washington football stadium. Sorry I meant construction of a high speed rail that just so happens to run through the campus so improving the stadium is really important. Hope you all paid your federal taxes this year.

  30. footballwife32 says: Jul 14, 2011 10:26 AM

    Actually, Troy is exactly right. It’s not the Bengals fault that the county used the money for things for which it was not intended. The county manipulated the deal and because the Bengals are an easy target, they are getting the brunt of the complaints. Yes, I understand the idea that they are supposed to field a competitive team. I get that. However, the county has grossly mis-used the funds that were AGREED UPON by them, to use in the stadium deal. They are at fault.

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