It’s an unusual thing to see in a downtown: professional football players practicing in the urban core.
But that has been the case in Cincinnati for more than 10 years, and it will be so again as soon as the NFL’s labor situation permits. Our players and coaches will be working regularly on the practice fields just west of Paul Brown Stadium, visible to traffic on nearby elevated roadways and to workers in many downtown buildings.
But it’s unclear whether everyone can see what that green patch of ground means for the downtown. It means green as in money.
The Bengals pay our players roughly $140 million per year. The tax man says that you pay taxes where you work, and players mostly “work” where they practice. To some extent, players “work” where they play games, but there are many more practices. In fact, players practice roughly 200 days a year, and of their 20 games, only half are on the road. Since they practice and play games downtown, players pay about 90 percent of their taxes to the City of Cincinnati, and the same is true for coaches, football staff and front office personnel.
All of this means that the City—with its 2.1 percent earnings tax—benefits from Bengals practices to the tune of $2.5 million per year. If the Bengals practiced in the suburbs, the City would get hardly any tax revenue, nor would anyone else because few other locales in the area have earnings taxes. This significant economic benefit to the City was a major reason why the Bengals and community leaders wanted practice fields built at the stadium. It’s a good deal for the City and a good deal for the Bengals, because we love being downtown.
So next time you see the green of the stadium practice fields, think of it as green for City coffers – and that’s our extra point.
(*Note: To see archived versions of The Who Dey Perspective, click here.)