CINCINNATI (WXIX) – Hamilton County won’t see a dime from the Bengals’ naming rights deal with Paycor, according to a cost analysis commissioned by the team.
A top-sheet letter summarizing the findings of the cost analysis was sent to Hamilton County officials on August 22. Read it here.
That analysis, performed by Clark Shaefer Hackett, does not disclose any details about the 16-year sponsorship, including how much Paycor paid to rename Paul Brown Stadium. Yet it remains the only information about the deal the Bengals have provided to the county since the deal was signed on Aug. 7.
Hamilton County owns the stadium and leases it to the Bengals under a 1997 agreement inked after voters approved a half-cent sales tax to build it in 1996. The agreement spells out how the money from a sponsorship deal is distributed.
The Bengals are entitled to the first $61 million from any such deal. After that, the Bengals keep 70 percent of the remaining net revenues, with the county getting the other 30 percent.
Net revenues factor in costs the Bengals must bear in fulfilling the deal, including—”without limitation,” per the lease—advertising, private suites, club seats, tickets and “other products to the naming party.”
The Bengals engaged Downtown Cincinnati-based Clark Shaefer Hackett after signing the Paycor deal to validate its fulfillment obligations and expected net revenues.
The analysis found what Paycor owes the Bengals minus what the Bengals have to do to fulfill the deal won’t exceed that $61 million threshold.
That is, the deal amount isn’t enough to trigger the revenue-sharing portion of the lease, so the County won’t see a 30 percent cut of anything.
Hamilton County officials feared as much when the deal was announced. Commissioner Alicia Reece voiced concerns on Aug. 12, more than a week before the Clark Shaefer Hackett letter. Reece even called for a revised lease agreement so taxpayers aren’t left “on the hook” for the county’s stadium-related debt obligations.
But so far, the Bengals have not communicated the terms or conditions of the Paycor deal or other sponsorships, according to County spokesperson Bridget Doherty.
The Bengals and team must negotiate a new lease agreement before the current one, signed in 1996, expires in 2026.
The stadium’s 2022 debt and operating expenses are expected to be around $40.1 million. Capital repairs and maintenance will cost another $6 million.
The county brought in an average of $84 million through the half-cent riverfront sales tax 2016-2021.
FOX19 has reached out to the Bengals for comment.
The Bengals’ attorney, Aaron Herzig said in a statement sent to our media partners at the Enquirer that the deal will help the Bengals remain competitive.
“While this agreement will not meet the threshold to get money directly back to the county, it is important to what we hope is our shared goal of allowing the team to continue to be successful here over the long term,” Herzig said. “It helps the team continue to try to compete for top talent even though we are one of the smallest markets in the NFL. It’s a win for the community.”
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