Reality Check: Bengals scoreboards

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The current stadium deal between the Bengals and Hamilton County is so lopsided in favor of the home team, it's been the subject of wide-spread criticism.

The Wall Street Journal called the contract quote: One of the worst professional sports deals ever struck by a local government.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers audit found: blurred accountability.

And a Harvard University researcher, who wrote an analysis of the stadium deal determined: No other NFL team has ever received so much public money.

The lease stipulates that the county provide the Bengals with new, state of the art scoreboards and the team is calling in that marker, which some could argue is the moral low ground given the Bengals' impressive balance sheet.

Forbes estimates the team's value at just under one billion dollars, with annual revenues of approximately $250 million. Then there is the NFL's lucrative new TV deal, which kicks in for the 2014 season. It's worth $27 billion and promises to keep the Bengals well into the black until at least 2022.

But when it comes to who should pay for the new scoreboards, not everyone is pointing a finger at the rich guy. Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes has provided FOX19 with detailed accounting receipts of bills paid to various vendors dating back to 2008. - Payments made with money taken from the stadium fund.

Rhodes told FOX19 quote: "They spent money on other things that weren't part of the original deal so shame on them, not once but twice. They spent the money, diverted funds, to do things that were never part of the original deal.. and now they want to blame the people they made the deal with."

If there is a silver lining for Hamilton County Commissioners, it might come by way of the Bengals who say they are willing to pick up some of the costs to help the county. Meanwhile, the stadium deal remains a cautionary tale for cities soon to negotiate with their own pro sports teams.

Copyright 2013 WXIX. All rights reserved.