Reality Check with Ben Swann: The Stadium Deficit

You have been hearing about this fight for a while. Two big stadiums and what seems like one raw deal for taxpayers.

At issue, is an agreement between Hamilton County and both the Reds and the Bengals.  The teams are being asked to contribute 10 million dollars to help fund their stadiums.  The deal was made in December to help fix the stadium funds deficit.

In theory, the Bengals would pay over 7 million though, they never agreed.  The Reds would pay just over 2 million between now and 2015, something to which the team did agree.

County Commissioner Todd Portune says it was a deal the County Administrator got in the way of.

"The Reds honorably agreed to move forward and do what they had agreed to do in December, only to read in the press that the County Administrator thought it wasn't good enough," says Portune.

That is true.

As it turns out, the Hamilton County Administrator Christian Sigman says the deal made with the Reds in December was not a good one.  The Reds, agreed to pay 25 cents on every fan in attendance through 2015.  County Commissioner Greg Hartman says that deal isn't good enough.

"We've decided that it is not in the county's best interest to cap at 25 cents," says Hartman.

That's not the whole story.

As part of the deal, in 2015, the Reds would cap that 25 cent surcharge at the first 1.75 million tickets sold in a year and that is the part the county doesn't like.

What if the Reds sell 2 million tickets or 2.2 or 2.5?  That's a lot of quarters per seat that the county won't get.  Hartman says the cap, is like the county betting against the Reds.

Here's what you need to know.

Under their written agreement with the county, the Reds are not obligated to do any of this.

Still, consider the numbers.  The total attendance for the Reds last year was 2,060,550.  2010 was a good year.

If the reds had paid 25 cents on every ticket in 2010, that would have come out to $515,137.50 for the stadium deficit fund.

Now, if the county had the 2015 cap where the Reds only pay 25 cents on 1.75 million seats, Hamilton County would have only lost out on a whopping 77,000 dollars.

What that means, is that instead of taking the $515,000 that the Reds are not obligated to pay in the first place, the county will end the deal over less than $80,000.

Who gets to pay for it?  You do.

And that is reality check.