After Bengals president Mike Brown announced on Tuesday that the team opted not to take advantage of the relaxed rule that would help prevent black outs, the crew at SportsFan.org took exception to the announcement. On Tuesday Brown said:
"What we want are sold-out houses. We want to see the stadium full," Bengals president Mike Brown said at Tuesday’s training camp media luncheon at Paul Brown Stadium. "If you think back when they passed the sales to finance the stadiums (in 1996), they did it so people could come down to the stadiums and watch games. They didn’t do it so people could stay at home and watch games on television. They could have done that without a new stadium. When I look around the league, most are staying with the old rule."
However that's revisionist history, as SportsFans.org points out.
Actually, Mr. Brown, they did it so you wouldn’t take the team and leave, as you threatened to do unless the public agreed to build a new stadium for the Bengals.
Consider this, from the June 25, 1995 edition of the Washington Post:
Bengals President Mike Brown said he’s giving Cincinnati and Hamilton County officials until Thursday to finalize an agreement for a new stadium. If an agreement can’t be signed by then, Brown said he’ll terminate discussions with local officials and begin negotiating with a group trying to lure an NFL team to Baltimore.
The Associated Press reported on June 27, 1995:
"Brown said in a letter to city and county officials Saturday that if he has no signed commitment by Thursday, he will negotiate exclusively with the Maryland Stadium Authority. The Baltimore group has said it would offer the Bengals a new stadium and a lucrative financial deal."
[Note: Mike Brown rejected a plan for a domed stadium on June 21 that would have been privately financed because it didn't fit the team's need]
Just before Brown's mandated deadline, City Council voted 5-4 to approve a $540 million project giving the Bengals and Reds new stadiums. Eventually voters in Hamilton County approved a half of one percent sales tax, to finance both stadiums. A plan many call one of the worst deals, largely through commitments by Hamilton County out of fear of losing the team with Mike Brown's deadline.
When asked if he regretted the deadline, Brown said during a press conference in 1995: "I don't regret that. I don't think that was a bad thing to do. It established our future. We are staying. That's what this was all about. It was a real deadline."
Brown added during the press conference that the deal from the Maryland Stadium Authority was "potentially more lucrative than what he could have receive by remaining in Cincinnati." So there's that.