Joe Reedy has the results of his inquiry. Of 174 emails from people deciding whether or not to renew their tickets, 59 total decided to renew. That means roughly 2 out of every 3 people (64%) who responded to Joe ditched their tickets. This is a small sample and potentially full of bias - most likely selection bias as people ditching are the most likely to respond - but it is hopeful. Though a cancellation rate that high certainly would seem at odds with the whole bunch of nothing the Bengals felt compelled to do after a 4-12 season.
More later. Suffice it to say that the decision for people who renew never involves winning football games but typically involves either a)getting together with family and friends, b)financial commitment to seat license or c)blind loyalty. While I get where these folks are coming from I can NEVER dismiss winning football. I don't follow the Bengals just to bond with family and friends. I follow them to see them fucking win.
For a team that didn't sell out their last few home games, this is a damning rebuke and hopefully will wake up the team that fans have had enough.
The high majority of fans who are not renewing list many reasons we at WDR discuss frequently. Here are a few of our favorites:
Scott (100 level): I am a business man just like Mike Brown. Mike Brown gets a return on investment when he fields a team, no matter if they win or lose. I do not get a return on investment when they consistently lose. Seeing a winner 2 times in the past decade is not worth it for me. If I gave money to an outfit who did a lot of the right things to assure the fans that winning is a priority, I would stay. However, this organization cuts nearly every corner possible to maximize profit, not my entertainment. Bengals season tickets are a bad investment of my money and time.
Nick (100 level): What Mike Brown does not understand is that no one blames him for being old-fashioned. Loyalty is an exceptional trait. No one hates him for being tight with money; that is usually a good quality no matter one’s circumstances, rich or poor. His heart-felt desire to “redeem” players who may have made mistakes off the field is truly a noble thing. Again, what Brown doesn’t know is that if he would just change, put someone capable and competent in charge of football operations, and bring this franchise into the 21st century (which would result in long-term success), this city would build monuments to him. They would name their children after him. All the hate and vitriol you see today could become love and respect. The amazing thing is, it wouldn’t take long.
Steve (200 level): The final tipping point was finally recognizing my own insanity. It occurred after reading the transcript to the bizarre press conference in which it was evident that I am insane to keep paying for season tickets in anticipation that the Bengals will consistently win under Mike Brown’s control. Questionable personnel decisions (the Houshmandzadeh-Coles-Bryant-Owens-Simpson debacle for example), displaying loyalty over professional judgment (keeping buddy Bratkowski too long) and a lack of recognition that he doesn’t have a winning model (although the most consistently winning family-run franchise in all of sports is in his division), has proven that Mike Brown does not have the wherewithal to change the Bengals’ makeup. I don’t know Mike Brown but I see better than I hear and I don’t see a plan to win, only to make money. The great fans of Cincinnati will always bleed orange and black and until Mike Brown stops bleeding green, we will only consistently see red.
John and Rebecca (100 level): I guess the sad part for me and my sister is the returning feelings of apathy that we were so familiar with during the 1990′s. These feelings were seemingly lifted when Lewis was hired in 2003 and with the AFC North title in 2005. However, the returning apathy seems to be more permanent. We have seen how Mike Brown handles success. Before we had a semblance of hope that if he ever achieved a level of winning he MAY be able to sustain it. Not so. Rock bottom seems eminent. This is our reality. A team that will, at best, have occasional streaks of winning and hover around mediocrity. This is our reality. We love and support a team that is owned by a family that will never fully realize or appreciate the value of it’s fans support.
Tom (200 level): I had a revelation a few days back. Paying for my season tickets, food, and beverages at the stadium is like paying for someone to punch me in the stomach every Sunday. Who in their right mind would pay for something like that. We had a good time, but just like the addicts on Intervention I need to go to rehab. Cincinnati Bengals rehab…wish me luck, I sure hope I don’t relapse.
Dick and Carol (200 level): We have finally made the decision that we should have made at least five years ago. The number rule in any business is to satisfy your customers. The uncaring and arrogant attitude of the Bengal Ownership continually keeps showing that they simply do not care about their customers,the fans such as my wife and myself. Like many others,I suppose that we have been waiting and hoping to see a sign of change. We do know of one change. We will not be spending any more money to support those who care so little about their fans and what should be their obligations to the City and County which have supported this Team.