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Empty seats make strong statement

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The Bengals’ Joe Mixon makes a run for it ithe Bengals’ win over the New York Jets at Paul Brown Stadium on Dec 1. Photo by Michael Mitchell

By Conrad Clowers 

Herald Sports Writer 

On December 1, the Cincinnati Bengals, after 330 days and four months into the 2019 season, finally won a game. It was great for Bengal coach Zac Taylor. He got his first win of the season. He received a Gatorade bath. Players were smiling and laughing. Chants of ‘Who-Dey’ filled the stadium. For one day The Jungle was actually The Jungle again. 

However, Cincinnati was 1-11 after that 22-6 victory over the New York Jets. All the people wanting to witness a 0-16 team around the country have their anger pointed at New York for standing in the way. 

The good news was Cincinnati was now back in the win column, although they lost to the Browns in Cleveland last Sunday, December 8 

The not-so-good news is very few fans were at Paul Brown Stadium to witness the Bengals’ win on December 1. The announced crowd was 39,000 and some change. That means there were more than 25,000 empty seats (give or take). Even when the Bengals are winning, the team struggles to fill up Paul Brown Stadium. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that losing games in Cincinnati will mean empty seats and lost revenue to the team. NFL teams big paydays come through TV contracts. Only a portion of a teams income is with the sale of tickets. The game with the Jets was the lowest attended game in PBS history. With the two teams of Cincinnati and New York being a combined 4-18 going into that match, it was no surprise. 

Attendance matters to the naked eye. Advertisers and other interested parties take note. There are 32 NFL teams in the NFL. The Bengals are 31st of the 32 NFL teams. Cincinnati averages 45,434 per game. Only the Los Angeles Chargers have a worse average attendance. The top three NFL teams averaging the most fans per game are the Dallas Cowboys (1), New York Jets (2), and Green Bay Packers (3).  

With the 2019 season going into its final quarter, it’s a wash for the Bengals. There is no marketing campaign on this planet that would get fans in the seats, other than the names of the other teams. The game against Cleveland was well attended due to the intrastate rivalry. The game against New England Sunday should also have a decent attendance due to the fact the Patriots are perennial winners.  

Whether it’s the economy, other interests, losing, or being fed up with the way the Bengals do things, fans are not coming to games.  

Cincinnati will draft likely in the #1 spot in the April 2020 draft. There isn’t a player in the draft whose name is so big that PBS would be full again.  

This attendance thing for the Bengals will not happen over night. It’s going to take some time. It will take years of winning, attention to detail, and just doing things a different way. As long as fans hold the dollars to buy the tix they will have the last word. No money will be exchanged for tickets by Bengal fans until the product and organization improves, along with customer satisfaction  increasing. Until then the team may have to get used to being at the bottom in the standings and attendance.

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