During last week’s discussion between the people who want to bring a Major League Soccer team to Cincinnati and local elected officials from both the city of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, one of the Hamilton County Commissioners, Todd Portune, dropped an interesting line into the proceedings.
The Cincinnati soccer backers want public money to build a soccer stadium. Portune alleged that the National Football League’s Cincinnati Bengals might move in 2027. Portune said no one from the Bengals organization has told him that the Brown family ownership is looking elsewhere but Cincinnati, Hamilton County and the Brown family have to work together to make sure the city does not have an empty 65,000 seat football stadium. This may be the first time a county commissioner has issued a relocation threat. Once the 30-year lease is done, Bengals owners and local politicians can sign a series of two year deals. The relocation threat is not imminent.
Cincinnati has lost about 33 percent of its population since 1968 when the Bengals franchise started in the American Football League. The Bureau of Labor Statistics rated Cincinnati in the bottom 10 for job growth potential in the next 10 years. The Cincinnati metropolitan area which includes Northern Kentucky has 2,170,000 residents in a 16 county area. North Kentucky has seen some economic growth. Cincinnati is the 24th biggest metro area in the United States.
Those numbers might work well for a Major League Soccer team but the expenses are significantly greater in running an NFL team even though every team gets the same share of TV revenues. It is wealth of the local market that separates Cincinnati from big markets where more money is available to buy higher priced tickets and from marketing partners. That creates a situation where less money is available for non on field personnel. Cincinnati may be fighting to keep an NFL team.
By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.