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Bengals Are Done Waiting for County to Come to Agreement on Stadium Concessions

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Downtown Cincinnati
Downtown Cincinnati

Okay. I'm going to try to make sense of something that doesn't make much sense to me. I am in no way, shape or form a financial genius. I would describe myself as a financial half-wit. I can barely keep track of the money flying out of my wallet let alone what an entire county is doing with their money. The worst thing is I find wallet empty all the time and I never can find anything that I bought. Oh right.... beer. So, before you read any further, remember that I'm not qualified to write about any of this. Here goes.

A while back, realizing the financial troubles that Hamilton County was in, the Bengals sent a letter offering to make a deal that would save the county some money and by some money, I mean $40 million. Of course, the Bengals weren't just acting out of the kindness of their own heart, they wanted something in return: for their lease to changed to a "team option" in 2017 which would allow them to leave the county. They also wanted a couple other things from the county in exchange for the money. They want Hamilton Country to relinquish their luxury suite to the team, to give up the county's portion of "other event revenue" and to give up whatever remaining interest that the county has in naming rights. All of that for $40 million? Hmmm.

Well, for $40 million I would get a tattoo that says "Cincinnati is awesome" in pink across my forehead without a second thought and probably a whole lot more. I'm sure that the county would love to have $40 million too but they don't seem to be the face tattoo types and of course, their biggest concern is making any agreement that would allow the Bengals to pack up their bags and leave town.

It's been 10 months since the letter was sent and there still has not been a formal response to the Bengals offer and Mike Brown and the rest of the front office are beginning to grow impatient.

Not only are there no agreements in place, a lawyer for the Bengals said the team and the county haven't talked about possible concessions - which all three Hamilton County Commissioners say are a vital part of the plan to plug a deficit projected to top $700 million by 2032 - in 10 months.

Even though the county doesn't want the Bengals to leave, some county officials see that the money out-weighs the risk of allowing Mike Brown to threaten Hamilton County with leaving.

Commissioner Greg Hartmann, a Republican who is in the board's minority, said he was angry about the revelation that there have been no talks since October.

"I really think somebody is not doing their job in not touching base with the Bengals for 10 months and I blame the administration," Hartmann said.

Commissioner Pepper said the county needs answers now about concessions and has expressed his frustration to the administration with how long it's taking.

Well, I have no idea what half of this means and really, I don't care. All I care about is that the Cincinnati Bengals stay the Cincinnati Bengals long after 2017. If that means that the city says no to $40 million then that's what it means. If the city says yes to the money then they should do whatever they can to keep Mike Brown happy when 2017 approaches. I'm a Bengals fan, not a financial adviser.

Also, please, if I got something wrong in my attempt to translate what was Greek to me into some comprehensible, let me know.