Bengals' Issues Evident With Sparse Steelers Home Crowd
The Bengals on Sunday "drew their smallest home crowd for a game" against the Steelers in "more than four decades," according to Steve Watkins of the CINCINNATI BUSINESS COURIER. The Bengals sold 47,423 tickets for the game at 65,515-seat Paul Brown Stadium, a "record low for attendance" at a Steelers-Bengals game in the 20-year history of the stadium. Sunday's crowd also was the "second-smallest for a home Steelers game in Bengals history, covering 49 regular-season games." The Bengals "haven't drawn a smaller home crowd for a home game against the Steelers" since '77. Home attendance has "reflected the Bengals' poor season," with the team still winless. They rank 31st in NFL attendance with an "average of just 46,560 fans per home game." The Bengals' attendance figures this season are ahead of only the Chargers, who play at 27,000-seat Dignity Health Sports Park (BIZJOURNALS.com, 11/25). In Cincinnati, J.L. Kirven notes due to the "lack of interest, ticket prices on the secondary market have dropped." For Sunday's Jets-Bengals game, secondary-market prices "range from $15-to-$130." Meanwhile, some fans said that while the "crowds are smaller, the fan atmosphere is better." Bengals fan Alan Tarpley "noticed the effort the team has put forth to get the fans riled up." Tarpley: "They have hired 'hype men' that stand out in front of the stadium to encourage people to come to the games. You can tell they are trying" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 11/27).
DECISION TIME: In Cincinnati, Scott Wartman notes Paul Brown Stadium, which opened in '00, is now "older than half of the 30 NFL stadiums that will house the 32 teams" at the start of next season. As the Bengals' lease is "set to expire" in '26, a "decision faces the team and the region: Do we build a new stadium?" Wartman: "Or do we invest hundreds of millions of dollars to keep the team and the stadium here for decades to come?" The team and county officials "plan on starting negotiations" in '24, two years before the lease expires. The Bengals can "extend the current lease if they wish with five two-year extensions" until '36 (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 11/27).