Greetings, readers of bengals.com. I am Jack Brennan, the team’s Public Relations Director, and today I become the first Club contributor to this new feature -- “The Who Dey Perspective” -- on our team web site.
My objective is in line with my official position as the “team spokesman,” the person who conveys the club’s official responses to all matters of news.
It’s just that sometimes, try as we might, we don’t find our perspective getting a full hearing in the news and public conversation. A few issues are repeated so often -- and incorrectly in our view -- that they verge undeservedly on becoming part of accepted lore.
One example of those issues is the fairness of our stadium lease, a matter on which I’m about to offer our side. On this, and on issues that may come later, we hope you’ll take the time to consider our points, and we ask no more than that.
We look forward to bringing our team’s viewpoint directly to you when the right occasions arise. We hope this space will prove to be interesting and instructive as Bengals conversation continues its around-the-clock ways.
THE ‘LEASE MYTH’
On Sept. 12, 1996, two days after the Bengals and Hamilton County announced terms of our club’s Paul Brown Stadium lease, The Cincinnati Enquirer published an analysis of the deal. The idea was to rate it against other NFL leases -- particularly those leases recently done in comparable markets -- and to form a conclusion on how the County’s taxpayers made out.
Had the answer been “poorly,” surely The Enquirer would not have hesitated to tell its readers so. And based on the criticism of our lease that one reads or hears in the media/Internet world of today -- not to mention attacks made seemingly for political gain -- one would think The Enquirer had done just that.
But what did The Enquirer actually find?
» A headline on the story read: “Team’s stadium pact in middle of NFL’s pack.”
» The reporter, Anne Michaud, wrote: “A comparison of the Bengals’ deal with six others in recent years shows that, although Cincinnati stands to push past other small-market teams, the deal lands on a middle ground.”
Nothing has changed substantially in the 15 years since that analysis was published. In terms of taxpayer-friendliness, as this chart shows, the Bengals’ lease still falls in the middle of the pack. In fact, the Bengals’ lease was considered sufficiently equitable that Indianapolis used a similar model for Lucas Oil Stadium in 2005.
Yet the myth persists that our lease is unfair, and this in spite of numerous meetings with editors, writers, radio/television personnel and others in an attempt to set the record straight.
We can’t speak to why this is the case. What we do know is that the facts don’t support the allegations.
Once again, the Bengals want to take the opportunity to thank Hamilton County voters and the entire region for helping make Paul Brown Stadium a reality. We hope all Greater Cincinnatians feel good that the city has a nationally honored stadium and is keeping pace with other markets. And that’s our “extra point.”
Thank you for considering the Who Dey Perspective.
Jack Brennan has been Bengals public relations director since 1994. He has been a Cincinnati resident since 1983, when he began a 10-year Queen City stint as a sports writer, first with the Cincinnati Post and later with the Enquirer.
(*Note: Future archived versions of The Who Dey Perspective will be available in the News Articles section of the News navigation menu.)