The Bengals gained approximately $255 million in revenue from the $8+ billion the NFL made over the past season, which primarily came from the league’s TV contracts and the increase (yes, increase) in viewership for primetime games.
Every organization got a big slice of the pie, and every one of them increased their overall value, which explains why the Bengals did not make Forbes’ top 50 most valuable sports franchises for the second year in a row.
The list is composed of 29 NFL teams and 21 organizations from the MLB teams, NBA as well as european soccer. The Bengals increase in revenue wasn’t enough to bump them into the top 50 with the 90% of the NFL that is.
Bengals owner Mike Brown is known for, more than anything, only making money off of football operations. The Bengals aren’t a team that spends lavishly on its players, personnel, and facilities, and never have been under Brown.
That relative frugality has kept them behind the vast majority of the NFL in terms of monetary dominance, and their family-minded power structure attributes to that in some ways as well.
Their value didn’t see a jump outside of TV revenue also because they finished the year with a losing record for the second-straight year, and double downed on the heads of the franchise in head coach Marvin Lewis and quarterback Andy Dalton. A lack of change does not positively impact value and therefore, keeps things stagnant.
A return to winning should bump the Bengals at least closer to making this list, but a couple playoff victories would do even more.