The Cincinnati Bengals are asking Hamilton County for "sole ownership of the naming rights to Paul Brown Stadium", according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
The naming rights have long been said to be worth little to the county because the team’s lease outlines a complicated profit-sharing formula that gives the county less money from a naming rights deal as time goes on.
Any money the county could get would help the ailing sales tax fund that pays for the county’s riverfront stadiums. In recent years commissioners erased part of a promised rebate to county homeowners to balance the fund.
Bengals attorney Stuart Dornette said that there is no "naming rights deal in the works"
"That is something that has value to it," said Hamilton County Board of Commissioners President Chris Monzel. "It is not something I am willing to give up. The naming rights belong to taxpayers. I won’t just give them away. They must have value, otherwise why would they want them."
Naming rights can provide some revenue, something that Hamilton county wants but has been repeatedly told, won't provide much.
The San Francisco 49ers secured a $220 million deal over 11 years from Levi's for naming rights in their new stadium. Soon after the Dallas Cowboys struck an agreement with AT&T worth an estimated $18 million annually. The Texans receive $10 million annually from Reliant and the Patriots receive $8 million from Gillette. The New York Mets currently have the biggest deal, worth $400 million deal over 20 years from Citigroup to name their stadium Citi Field.
There are factors in the Bengals fight with Hamilton County that's being used for leverage; specifically "an 8-foot to 10-foot decorative roof ledge on a 10-story building" nearby.
The Dec. 20 letter to Hamilton County Administrator Christian Sigman stemmed from Bengals concerns over the county violating agreements about the height of buildings at The Banks. A 1996 Memorandum of Understanding sets building guidelines at the The Banks; the Bengals fear the county wants to let developers build taller structures than allowed.
And the fight continues.