Paul Brown Stadium is more than a decade old, but the cost keeps going up.
In 2010, the Wall St. Journal reports that Hamilton County spent $34.6 million on the stadium. That’s 16.4% of the county’s total budget, and the number is rising by the year.
“The [property] tax hit is just the latest in a string of unforeseen consequences from what has turned into one of the worst professional sports deals ever struck by a local government — soaking up unprecedented tax dollars and county resources while returning little economic benefit,” Reed Albergotti and Cameron McWhirter write for the paper.
The Bengals will argue with the details, but one study estimated the total cost of building the stadium to the public was close to $555 million. The county says it cost $454 million. The original budget: $280 million.
We’re not smart enough to cogently analyze the rest of the numbers in the excellent piece. We can be depressed by them at a time when Hamilton County had to cut school budgets when they are already failing so many students.
Sure, the Bengals extracted the best deal they could get. But they did so by leveraging a possible move out of town, and then rewarding fans with a decade of struggle.
The trend in stadium building has veered away from using from public money, which means deals like the one the Bengals got should be a thing of the past. The impact of the stadium on the budget of Hamilton County will serve only to hasten that reality.