Cincinnati Wants A Sports And Entertainment District 

More than just a sports business.

In many ways, a sporting event seems to be a secondary part of the sports industry. Business interests are making games secondary. Boston Red Sox management is building a concert hall which will be adjacent to Fenway Park. LA Live was developed by Los Angeles Kings owner Phil Anschutz’s AEG to augment Anschutz’s downtown arena and make the arena area a destination for those looking for entertainment. Comcast, the Philadelphia Flyers owner, has its version of LA Live surrounding the Philadelphia arena. There are even minor league cities considering a version of LA Live or a concert hall. Cincinnati elected officials have given thought to building a concert hall next to the NFL Bengals and MLB Reds football and baseball stadiums forming an entertainment district with the hope of getting people to go to the riverfront/stadium area in the winter. The city was hoping that Bengals ownership would put up money for the endeavor but problems cropped up over a land swap and a lease extension.

Bengals ownership has had an uneasy relationship with elected officials over stadium subsidies since the 1990s. Cincinnati and Hamilton County have had major problems paying off the debt on the Bengals’ football facility and the Reds baseball stadium. The county has sold off a hospital at 50 cents on a dollar, laid off workers and increased taxes for the two sports facilities in past years. Yet, the Cincinnati football and baseball stadium financial problems did not yet deterred Cincinnati officials in 2018 from pledging financial support to build a soccer stadium. Cincinnati got a Major League Soccer expansion team thanks in part to that money. Cincinnati’s two stadiums have cost residents around a billion dollars in various tax fees since voters approved the construction of the stadiums in 1996. Bengals ownership has a lease to play in the stadium until 2026.

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