The Cincinnati Bengals are famous (around here, anyway) for getting a state-of-the-art clause in their stadium lease that requires the county to pay for any upgrades that 14 other NFL teams already have, spelling out that this specifically includes “holographic replay systems,” in the event those are ever invented. The team’s owners already used this clause last year to get $7.5 million in public money for a new scoreboard, and now it sounds like they have bigger dollar figures in their sights:
The team sent a letter to Hamilton County officials this week asking for a review of the stadium’s condition and for talks to begin on how it could be improved to keep up with newer stadiums in other NFL cities…
The team’s letter, signed by Bengals Vice President Troy Blackburn, doesn’t mention specific problems or potential upgrades at the stadium, which cost $450 million to build, but it does note that several NFL stadiums have been updated in recent years and that new stadiums under construction in Atlanta and Minneapolis will include “significant changes in stadium design.”
Reading between the lines of the story, it doesn’t sound like the Bengals have a wish list of improvements (in fact, Bengals development director Bob Bedinghaus specifically said he doesn’t have such a list), but rather that they’re taking advantage of a clause in the lease to trigger a review of other stadiums to see what they can shake loose. If the team and county can’t agree, it goes to a panel of arbitrators; given how that worked out in St. Louis with the Rams‘ similar state-of-the-art lease clause, it’s probably not too early for Cincinnatians to commence panicking about now.