We originally posted that UC and the Bengals are having some difficulty settling on two things: 1) Potential use of PBS and 2) An offer to build an indoor practice facility.
Bill Koch of the Enquirer spoke with UC official Bob Arkeilpane who played down any rumors. You can read what we think of that article here. The key points are the following: 1) Bob claims UC has not tried to move '09 games to PBS, 2) The Bengals approached UC about moving games there, 3) Discussions never got to the point of fees, 4) UC's desire is to play at Nippert, 5) UC is investigating the costs of renovating Nippert and 6) UC approached the Bengals about a practice facility but the Bengals did not express interest at this time.
More recently, Lance McAlister outlined on his blog comments on this issue from a Bengals executive.
The key points to this post are: 1) The Bengals offered UC the basically the same rent terms as UK/Miami, 2) The Bengals reached out to UC about the '09 WVA & Louisville games for NFL scheduling reasons, 3)The Bengals have been proactive towards UC but UC prefers Nippert to PBS, 4) The Bengals and Hamilton County split 50%/50% revenues from rent, suite sales, and parking for all "other events" held at PBS and 5) The Miami/UK game was negotiated with Brad Bates (Miami AD) for almost four years.
Got that, too?
(Lance also includes the fee schedule charged to Miami/UK for use of PBS which is really interesting but not relevant - it'll be for another post - to our discussion)
So what to make of these comments from UC and the Bengals? Here is what WDR believes are the salient points:
Both sources confirm that the Bengals reached out to UC about playing games in '09 at PBS and UC was not interested. UC preferred to play at Nippert and there is no reason to doubt that. HOWEVER, the key point here is that these discussions both parties mentioned happened before the high cost of renovating Nippert was known. At least, that is WDR's understanding of the situation. The expenses required for renovation make PBS a more attractive option than UC originally believed so prior talks are not relevant.
In UC's statement, Arkeilpane claims the discussion for rent never reached the point of fees. However, the Bengals (via Lance) claim they offered preliminary terms similar to the UK-Miami game. This is inconsistent.
The only fees discussed by either party concern single game events: UC v OSU (2002) and Miami v UK. However, the pricing WDR is concerned with are for multiple games, where UC effectively "rents" PBS (more similar to the Pitt and South Florida arrangements we mentioned). One would assume the pricing for single, big-name games versus multiple games would be different (quantity/quality discount). This may help explain the discrepancy in the 5 times the normal rent claim in our original post: we're comparing a single game price to a multiple game price.
And why UK v Miami would be a relevant benchmark for fees charged to UC for multiple games is perplexing given the very different nature of their situations. It is virtually impossible for Miami to attract BCS teams to play them at Yeager so if they want a marquee opponent at a home game they must look elsewhere (less negotiating leverage).
While the Bengals have disclosed their fees for one time usage of the stadium they do not, however, disclose if they make those using the stadium pay for the associated game day costs (such as security) which can be quite expensive. Making the 3rd party cover those costs is equivalent to raising your fee so it's very important to find out that part of the story too.
Aren't you thrilled that the Bengals get to keep half of all the revenues for 3rd party events that have little to do with them? Actually, I'll shut up, I should be grateful their lease doesn't give them the rights to all revenues for a stadium the county owns.
It took 4 years for the Miami v UK game to get arranged? Is that a boasting point? Cause that seems like a shockingly long time to negotiate use for one game. Obviously a lot goes into that process but price is part of the element - so it seems the two sides were far apart on price for a loooong time. Though that is admittedly speculation.
The indoor practice facility receives barely any attention - only an off hand comment from Bob Arkeilpane. This issue has not been addressed at all.
So, in sum, while a lot has been said, not much of substance has emerged to refute our original post. Both sides cleverly dance around the issue without hitting it head on. So until we find out more about the PBS usage fees for multiple games and what talks are in motion regarding indoor practice facilities, we still see nothing to lead us to believe our original post needs to be materially updated.
If the issues are addressed head on, we'll back off. But until then....
ps - now that the Bengals have disclosed their usage fees, WDR would love to solicit some help researching comparable fees at other publicly funded stadiums. anyone who can find or help find this information please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org