Posted: 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013
By Matt Opper
"When I got the call about UC playing a full season down there we started talking internally about how we might be able to help the University of Cincinnati and their project. We couldn’t say you guys come in and play rent free because Hamilton County needs to make money when other events happen down there. What we came up with is we are going to reimburse to the University of Cincinnati all the money we would have received in rent for the full season. We will reimburse 100 percent."
He is the Bengals director of business development, and he dropped a bomb. The sense of shock from some corners of Bearcats Nation that the Bengals are giving UC not just a fair deal, but an extremely favorable arrangement is palpable. Mike Brown has never seemed particularly interested in giving back to the community that has handed him billions, without having to bother with assembling a competent team. That he is giving to UC in this particular way is rather astounding, even to an outsider like myself.
A couple of other interesting bits from the story by shockingly interested Bill Koch.
UC must pay 10 percent of the first $1 million in ticket revenue for each game played there, 12.5 percent of the next $1 million and 15 percent of gross ticket revenue exceeding $2 million. UC must also pay a 25-cent surcharge to Hamilton County for each ticket sold and is responsible for all game expenses.
That is the first that I have seen the terms of rent spelled out. I have no context as to whether or not that is a fair value, but I don't know of any school who will be, or has been in a similar situation. Maybe our USF friends have a better handle on that.
"For a year that we really needed them, the Bengals really stepped up and helped us out. We had nowhere to go. They could have not been easier to work with."
The Bengals easy to work with? Who knew! No seriously, who knew.
"We looked at playing 2014 in Nippert and would have done anything we could to get in there. We looked at it every which way we could. We even looked at phasing in construction over a two-year period. We did not want to leave Nippert. But we can get more for our money if we do (the construction) all at one time."
It didn't come to pass, but I am happy that Whit at least took a long look at phasing the construction out and continuing to play at Nippert. Alas it was not to be.
UC also briefly considered Great American Ball Park as a possible home venue and looked at playing its home games at various sites around the state to showcase its football program, Babcock said, but decided neither was a workable solution.
I think everyone knew that UC took a look at GABP ala the Cal Bears, what I didn't know was that UC floated the idea of having UC travel the state for its home games in 2014. I would have liked that, because I don't live in Cincinnati, but that would make for a long and unprecedented slog of season. On the whole this is just another little reminder that Whit Babcock is worth his weight in gold.