Most of us realize how sweet of a deal the Cincinnati Bengals received with Paul Brown Stadium, at the expense of Hamilton County tax payers. But as increasing research goes to show, along with the devastating reduction of $630 million to local governments over two years from the state, that deal is having a growing impact on the community and County.
According to this Wall Street Journal report, the public will have to pay a cost of $555 million for Paul Brown Stadium, "once other expenditures, such as special elevated parking structures, are factored in. No other NFL stadium had ever received that much public financing."
The stadium's annual tab continues to escalate, according to the county's website. In 2008, the Bengals' stadium cost to taxpayers was $29.9 million, an amount equivalent to 11% of the county's general fund.
Last year, it rose to $34.6 million—a sum equal to 16.4% of the county budget. That's a huge multiple compared to other football stadiums of the era that similarly relied on county bonds for financing. Those facilities have cost-to-budget ratios of less than 2%.
The piece goes on to talk about the hardships hitting county, services and programs meant to help people are being slashed. Now the posting doesn't necessarily avoid the obvious points that run counter. Such as county being a "willing participant" for the deal, or the overall national economy causing a negative waterfall on state and local governments. Regardless, read on if you're interested.
What's infuriating about this is the Bengals will be hard pressed to sellout a game this year (and we're not talking about the Steeler-fan-invasion-game). Floundering economy, more value with other entertainment options, total disgruntled attitude about this organization. Yet the county is bleeding money, exacerbated by a lease that they signed and the Bengals, at the very least, have only given the city, county and their fans two winning seasons since the stadiums inaugural season.