The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about the Bengals stadium. They called the deal one of the worst concerning a local government and professional sports.
To summarize the article and the data they talked about here’s a quick excerpt.
To help finance its stadiums, Hamilton County assumed more than $1 billion in debt by issuing its own bonds without any help from the surrounding counties or the state. As debt service ratchets up, officials expect debt payments to create a $30 million budget deficit by 2012.
To most fans it’s already common knowledge that the Bengals have crippled Hamilton county financially.
But apparently the Bengals organization looks at the deal in another light. They even went as far as saying that the WSJ was bias and had many inaccuracies. To see the lengthy writing from Jack Brennan (PR) and VP Troy Blackburn, click here. To give a quick glimpse of what the Bengals organization say in defense (well actually offense as they seem to attack the WSJ), here’s an excerpt from the Bengals VP, Troy Blackburn.
In the 15 years since the deal was put in place, a funny thing happened on the way to the forum: the local government took money intended for the stadia and spent it on other projects. The chief financial officer in the area criticized that as “mission creep”. If municipal spending had remained limited to sports facilities (as originally planned), municipal finances would have fit within the identified tax revenues – even with a down economy, tax receipts have averaged the 2% growth needed to support the financing. Instead, local officials spent money on extra projects—like a new highway project, an urban redevelopment project, and enhanced funding for public schools—and this “mission creep” has caused real economic challenges, which the Journal wrote about Tuesday.
My God, Urban redevelopment, funding for public schools? What is the county doing? All in all the county signed on the dotted line to agree with the deal. As bad as the deal is with the Bengals, (and it really does make Owner Mike Brown to be a mustache twirling villain) the county realized it was throwing so much money at the Bengals. (And the Reds for that matter)
Typically when reading things like this, I put them under the “head scratched category”.
Hamilton County granted the Bengals generous lease terms. It agreed to pick up nearly all operating and capital improvement costs—and to foot the bill for high-tech bells and whistles that have yet to be invented, like a “holographic replay machine.”
This proves that the Bengals were “Making it Rain” long before the arrival of Adam “Pacman” Jones. To have a deal in place for a holographic replay machine is impressive. The truth is, the Bengals got the better of Hamilton county. But is the blame solely to placed on the shoulders of the Bengals? Shouldn’t the government of Hamilton county be held responsible for it’s actions. (Even though they were given the “build it or we move” ultimatum.)