According to the Huffington Post, owners are "claiming that they need an extra billion dollars to make it worthwhile to invest in the upkeep of the stadiums and other facilities." And the players, who want to help, want a larger cut of the returns. Mike Brown, who is in support of the owners having a larger share of the revenue help with maintenance costs that Hamilton County is already charged with paying, is one of the league owners turning to players seeking more money from the players because taxpayer money is disappearing and average ticket revenue "has flattened."
The owner of the Cincinnati Bengals, for instance, is insisting that he needs the extra money from the players to maintain the team's stadium. "The investments that need to be made to keep the stadium and our other facilities in first-class condition require an economic system that fairly allocates financial reward and risk," said Bengals owner Mike Brown in an October letter explaining the team's position to progressive advocacy group Progress Illinois.
Problem is, the Bengals don't pay for those investments. The local taxpayers do. The stadium was entirely a gift from taxpayers to the team. The lease requires taxpayers to pay the costs of routine maintenance and upgrades, which amounted to $10.2 million over the past decade, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. And now the Bengals want four times as much from taxpayers for the next decade.
The article takes a look back into recent developments regarding the contentious stadium issue between the Bengals and Hamilton County with Commissioner Todd Portune saying, "The community is fed up with the Bengals. They don't try to put a winner on the field."
"I don't want to get in the middle of their labor dispute, but the problem is the financial model that the NFL has actively pursued, that the ownership of teams have been willing co-conspirators to, that has put a gun to head of taxpayers to foot the bill for costs that ought to be born by private enterprise," Portune said.
The larger scope of the Huffington Post is examining why the league is turning to players to build new stadiums and keep with the rising maintenance costs of the ones that exist.
However, it should be noted that the NFL isn't without its additional avenues for revenue. In the past year, the league agreed on a six-year deal worth $1.2 billion to name Bud Light as the NFL's "official beer". They also signed a four-year deal with Verizon Wireless worth $720 million to be the NFL's exclusive wireless partner. And ESPN extended an agreement with the NFL nearly worth $2 billion a year to extend it's Monday Night Football rights.