NFL banks billions of dollars on the backs of taxpayers and small businesses

by Jeff Mordock
November 23, 2017

The Cincinnati Bengals threatened the unthinkable in 1995. Team owner Mike Brown vowed the team would move to Baltimore unless a new stadium was built.

Taxpayers in Hamilton County, Ohio, where Cincinnati is located, feared something greater than wounded civic pride if their football team left. They worried that the Bengals’ departure would spur an economic crisis throughout the region. A University of Cincinnati study released at the time estimated that the Bengals added $77 million to the local economy.

Hamilton County residents could avert disaster, however. All they needed to do was vote for a modest half-percent sales tax increase. The tax increase and municipal bonds would cover the estimated $287 million needed to build the Bengals’ new home.

Residents overwhelmingly approved the tax, and the Paul Brown Stadium for the Bengals opened in 2000 after cost overruns pushed the construction tab to nearly $450 million.

4 Comments - what are your thoughts?

  • ch says:

    Cincinnati would have been 373 million better off without the stadium. They lost big time.
    Lose 77m or 450m?

  • jngtelco says:

    How long will the Tax Payers have to pay for Football stadiums. I never got a dime back from Three Rivers Stadium. It was truly a poor investment for me, They never sent me as much as a free ticket to a game!

    1. bobnstuff says:

      Three Rivers has been gone for 18 years so I wouldn’t hold my breath on getting a ticket.

  • bobnstuff says:

    Around the same time as Cincinnati was building their stadium Pittsburgh built a stadium, a ball park and a convention center for around the same amount of money and without raising taxes to do it, the economy is just fine. The jobs promised did come. The bonus is on of the nicest ball parks in the country. Three Rivers Stadium wasn’t a great stadium but at the time of their raising it they still owed $24 million on it. The NFL makes money but if the local cities are smart they share in that money. If a city is in a downward slid a stadium will not fix it but if the local economy is in recovery it can enhance that recovery. Pittsburgh had one other advantage, every home football game is sold out and have been for 40 years, Big difference between the the Bengals and the Steelers.

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