Late last year the Cincinnati Bengals announced in late December that season tickets prices for 2012 weren't just holding steady, there was going to be a reasonable reduction in price within certain sections of Paul Brown Stadium -- upwards to 33 percent reduction in some areas. At the time we called it a step in the right direction, helping to repair long-needed fan relations by the front office, which has been significantly damaged after 20-plus years of ownership under Mike Brown.
This was after Cincinnati failed to pack all but two games in 2011, one of which was the annual pilgrimage from Steelers fans and the regular season finale against the Ravens -- which if you remember, was a promotion for a buy one, get one free for season-ticket holders to help sellout the stadium in the hopes to give Cincinnati a homefield advantage to secure a playoff berth; which they did anyway despite allowing 221 yards rushing in a 24-16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
The reduction in season-ticket prices, along with the fact Cincinnati made the playoffs last season has season-ticket holders buying back into the team.
According to Katie and Troy Blackburn, renewal for season tickets are doing "a lot better" this year, writes Bengals.com beat writer Geoff Hobson.
"The renewal rate has been good. There has been a strong fan reaction," Troy Blackburn said. "We have renewed near 100 percent. It has been going positive."
"We are doing pretty well but we have our work cut out for us," Katie Blackburn said.
We can only assume the work is getting new season-ticket holders at this point, especially after a recent exodus which was precipitated after two four-win seasons in the span of three years. Alternatively the Bengals have earned a playoff berth in two of the most recent three years with plenty of off-season optimism remaining that this year will be different than their 2006 and 2010 counterparts. If the Bengals reach the playoffs in 2012, it will be the first time the Bengals have reached the postseason in consecutive seasons since the 1981 and 1982 squads; which is actually the only time in franchise history this team has made the playoffs in consecutive seasons.
Additionally, which isn't lost on us, is Cincinnati's home schedule which may be strengthening already-steady season-ticket sales. From Peyton Manning's Denver Broncos, Carson Palmer's Oakland Raiders, the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys, who has a strong nationwide fanbase, along with your annual Browns, Ravens and Steelers games, which has generally always had a strong turnout (Cleveland less so recently though).