Thursday marked the signing of a new deal between the Cincinnati Bengals and Hamilton County. The new deal paved the way for a litany of new upgrades in and around Paul Brown Stadium. The $16.5M deal aims to please the fans, the city, and the Bengals.
The biggest part of the deal for the fans is the new $10M HD video board the Bengals will receive from the deal. The team will pay a quarter of the cost ($2.5M) while Hamilton County will pick up the other $7.5M. According to the deal if the price of the board jumps to $12M the team will pay 25% of the of the additional $2M. Should the board cost more than $12M the deal is off.
Included in the deal is stadium wide Wi-Fi within Paul Brown Stadium, this is a much welcomed addition for the fans. Wi-Fi is now required by the NFL in all stadiums. Outfitting the stadium will cost $3.5M, the Bengals will cover the cost initially with the county paying the team back over 5 years. Tax payers will ultimately be paying for this.
The Bengals also will be getting a new locker room. The interesting part of this is the locker room will be expanded into an area that was being reserved for a professional soccer team, prompting the question has Cincinnati been courting and MLS team? That is for another discussion, the Bengals will pay for their locker room expansion.
Perhaps the other headline grabbing portion of the new deal is the Bengals can now play in oversea games. Hamilton County will now allow the Bengals to play a home game in London or any other city if the NFL were to expand the international game. The Bengals are allowed to play 2 international games in a five year period. Meaning the Bengals could potentially only have 7 home games.
Hamilton County will pay $10.5M of the $16.5M deal, the Bengals will pay $6M of the deal. In addition the agreement allows the second phase of the Banks project to advance into a reality. The next phase will feature 291 apartments and 20,000 square feet of retail. The Banks is also looking to lure GE to the office space at the next phase. It is scheduled to be completed in February 2016.
Bengals owner Mike Brown’s daughter Katie Blackburn has been added to the Banks Steering Committee, she is also the Bengals Executive Vice President.
The deal seems to be a phenomenal deal for the Cincinnati Bengals. For Hamilton County it appears to be another bad deal for the country. Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartman is ecstatic about the deal, “This sets the stage for one of the most exciting times on the riverbanks since the Big Red Machine played down there.” Hartman seems very sure this is exactly what the county needed. Time will tell.