When voters approved a sales-tax increase to pay $540 million toward stadiums for Cincinnati’s professional baseball and football teams almost two decades ago, city leaders promised lower property levies and a business district along the Ohio River.And not only has Mike Brown screwed Hamilton County taxpayers (and the IRS), he's been a complete asshole while doing it, and the Bengals have failed to win a playoff game since he took over the team.
The tax relief hasn’t materialized as pledged, said Todd Portune, a commissioner in Cincinnati’s Hamilton County. Instead, the county government is grappling with annual stadium expenses totaling at least $43 million this year, including debt service, county documents show. Residents have seen a public hospital sold, mass-transit investments postponed and little private development near the stadiums that didn’t involve additional public subsidies, Portune said......
In Cincinnati, Bengals owner Mike Brown took control of the team in 1991, after the death of his father, Paul Brown, a Hall of Fame founder and coach of the Cleveland Browns, who in 1967 headed an ownership group that acquired an expansion franchise in the American Football League. The Reds are owned by Robert Castellini, who led a group that bought a team after the 2005 season that was then valued at $270 million. The team is now worth $680 million, according to a data compiled by Bloomberg.
In the 1990s, each team began pushing for public funding to replace Riverfront Stadium, which opened in 1970 and was shared by both organizations. In March 1996, Hamilton County voters approved a half-percentage point increase in their sales-tax rate to fund the football and baseball venues as part of an effort to revive the area along the Ohio River.
Paul Brown Stadium opened for the Bengals in 2000 and Great American Ball Park opened for the Reds in 2003. The stadiums are about a half-mile apart......
Public costs for Cincinnati stadiums now exceed $1 billion in 2010 dollars, according to Long, the Harvard professor, who tabulated expenses for stadiums for a book titled “Public Private Partnerships for Major League Sports Facilities.”
The NFL stadium proved particularly costly, according to Long. Paul Brown Stadium was the second-most expensive public deal of any U.S. stadium, according to her data, with the public paying $706 million, including land, infrastructure, maintenance and tax breaks. It trails only Indianapolis’s Lucas Oil Stadium. Taxpayers also spent about $489 million on the Reds’ Great American Ball Park, according to Long’s data.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
The Cincinnati Stadium Screw Job
Another article discussing the crazy public subsidies for professional sports stadiums features Cincinnati: