For the third time this year, the Bengals need help selling out Sunday's game. On Friday afternoon, while the deadline approached, Local 12, the Bengals and Kroger worked together to sellout the remaining tickets available to assure that the game will be broadcasted in the Cincinnati market. Kroger and Local 12 were in large part why the Bengals were seen on local television during opening weekend against the Denver Broncos.
Kroger is planning on giving away 250 pairs of tickets "members of the military" which will be distributed "at Kroger stores in Hyde Park (10-11 a.m.); Lebanon, Union and Fairborn (11 a.m.-noon) and Anderson Towne Center (1-2 p.m.) today."
Bengals Executive Vice President Katie Blackburn writes in a statement:
“We are thrilled with the response from our fans, Kroger and Local12, and we are pleased that Bengals fans across the region can watch our game on Sunday. We have great fans and their vocal support will give us a real home field advantage for this big AFC North game. We are especially pleased that we will have so many members of the Military on hand.”
If the Bengals can not sell a game out, against a division rival while in first place, you have to wonder if this isn't another sign that the Bengals should be more aware of the area and their loyal fanbase. On Friday a released government report says "the U.S. unemployment rate hit a 26-year high of 10.2 percent last month." The state of Ohio's unemployment rate hovers around 10.1% in September (lost 258,100 jobs in one year). Kentucky's jobless rate is 10.9% and Indiana's is 9.6% in September. On Tuesday, Ohio voters voted to legalize Casinos by six points in an effort to bring money and jobs to the state. Hamilton county recently passed a $209 million general fund budget, which is $29.6 million less than last year and the smallest since 1999. An October 20 Middletown Journal article writes that jobless numbers in Hamilton County are at 10.8%, which actually feel from the previous month of 11.6%.
In one respect, the Bengals are helping out by assuring tickets are sold in one way or another. While Cincinnatians are struggling to sellout games at Paul Brown Stadium, the fifth home game will ultimately be sold out. However, the home games this year have mostly hosted teams that are in playoff races, such as Denver and Houston (wild card), or games with bigger fanbases like Pittsburgh and Chicago.
If we base on what we've seen this year, I find it hard to believe that the Bengals will be able to sellout their remaining home games. Cleveland could sellout, because most football fans in this state are either Bengals fans or Browns fans. After that, the Bengals host the Lions and Chiefs to close out the home schedule. Yikes.
With the economy and some many that remain jobless, I think it's time that the Bengals examine the possibility of reduced ticket prices for the remainder of this year. As of now, games against the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions, the cheapest tickets remain at $64 through Ticket Master. Add to area parking, as well as concessions, and your price could easily top $90. And of course, you're not going alone. So let's add a few tickets for friends and/or family. Many can't justify that cost of even the cheapest ticket available.
Think of the advantages. Cheaper tickets means availability to more people, maybe even children who could become the future generation of Bengals fans who would buy tickets in 2020. Do the Bengals recognize that? It's a great public relations effort, with a fanbase that really doesn't trust the Bengals front office and hasn't for years. If they're looking at the bottom line, the Bengals won't have to eat the cost of those unsold tickets.
Now we'd be trivial not to mention that the Bengals wiped out the remaining tickets against the Ravens and plan to donate them. That's a great start. While they're looking to help out, the Bengals should keep trying, reaching out to a community that's struggling right now, even though the citizens of Hamilton County gave the team one hell of a stadium deal. Let's reciprocate the love a little for fans who could use a little help to support cheering for the team they've cheered for all of our lives.