CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 11: Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown looks on during a rookie minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium on May 11, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
As was noted yesterday by our own Josh Kirkendall, Forbes Magazine released the monetary figures of every NFL team over the past year. Valued at $871 million, the Cincinnati Bengals placed 27th on the Forbes list. While they may be a bit predictable, there is one aspect that might not be.
According to Steve Watkins of The Cincinnati Business Courier, the Bengals were the only NFL team to post a loss in their annual value. Ouch. What is this minor decrease in valuation have to do with?
Watkins has a couple of items to attribute that to:
It dipped from $875 million last year and has steadily declined from $953 million in 2009. Operating income fell, too, from $45 million a year ago.
The worst attendance in the league last year, with a decline of 18 percent and six of the eight home games blacked out on TV, didn’t help finances. Revenue inched down from $236 million in 2010.
In all, it would appear that the "boycotts" from angered fans, as well as general disinterest in a still-down economy has hit the Bengals. Though it's not a big hit, it's certainly something to note that you're the only franchise out of 32 that had a loss over the past year.
Perhaps that is why the team has made certain gestures to win fans back. The Bengals held their Training Camp at Paul Brown Stadium this year, as well as did a "Cincinnati Sports Day" where a fan could experience a Reds game along with one of the most popular practices (mock game and intrasquad scrimmage). It has seemed to have worked, as the team's merchandise sales have tripled this year from 2011.
It's a simple formula to fix this, really: put a winning product on the field and market yourself as a fan-friendly team and stadium. Making tickets and concessions a bit more affordable wouldn't hurt, either. That's the remedy.