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Taxpayers get No Money From Newly Named Paycor Stadium

Hamilton County is not entitled to any money from the Cincinnati Bengals' 16-year Paycor Stadium naming rights deal

CINCINNATI - Hamilton County is not entitled to any money from the Cincinnati Bengals' 16-year Paycor Stadium naming rights deal, according to a letter from accounting firm Clark Shaffer Hackett the team has provided to the county.

Under the terms of the 1997 lease, if the Bengals sold the naming rights and the net revenue the team received was $60 million or less, the county would get nothing. If there was additional revenue, the county was entitled to 30%, while the Bengals kept the rest.

The $60 million figure comes from a lease provision. It sets the initial amount by which the Bengals were entitled to every dollar at $16.67 million in 2000, then increases it by 6% annually. That means this year, the Bengals are entitled to everything if the rights go for $60 million or less.

But the county, which owns the stadium, will have to take the team’s word for it. That’s because county officials say they still do not have details of how much the deal is worth.

“The financial terms and conditions of the Paycor naming rights agreement and other sponsorships have not been provided to the county. We continue to ask for the information,” said county spokesperson Bridget Doherty.

But Aaron Herzig, an attorney for the Bengals, said the team has given the county plenty of information, including allowing five different county attorneys more than 16 hours to review the naming rights agreement, except for some proprietary financial terms.

"The team has given the county more than it needs ... let's be clear. Under the lease, the only role for the county is that it has the right to consent to the 'proposed name.' It can only withhold consent if the name violates the law or is 'not suitable for a public building.' No one can seriously clam that the Paycor name violates the law or is not suitable for a public building," Herzig said.

The team sold the naming rights to Paycor in a sponsorship agreement dated Aug. 7. The team turned over the agreement and other documents to Cincinnati accounting firm Clark Schaefer Hackett to analyze.

Austyn McFadden

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Wednesday, November 2, 2022

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