The Economics of being a Fan
Why I no Longer Cheer for the Bengals
Although I never played football, Fall Sundays are somewhat sacred in my house. I don’t answer calls, emails or texts during the games and when friends come over and root for the wrong team, they must leave… sorry Flanigan rules.
I am originally from Cincinnati, Ohio and I have been a NFL Cincinnati Bengals fan since I was a kid, the days of Kenny Anderson, Chris Collinsworth and James Brooks and you cannot forget Boomer Esiason and the legendary coach Sam Wyche, the original no huddle offense. Since I have been a fan, the Bengals have never been a dynasty; until the mid-90’s they were competitive then came the onslaught of free agency, where the good teams are made by organizations that draft well and pay free agents.
The Bengals are owned by the Brown family and they have been notoriously cheap. They don’t sign top free agents, their draft pics are hit and miss and with their off the field antics they have become somewhat the laughing stock of the league.
The thirty-two NFL organizations are a business and in business it is alright to be frugal, but not cheap. Spending on higher caliber players and building a top-notch organization does not ensure success and defining success in the NFL is winning football games with the chance to play in the Super Bowl. A successful business makes a profit and they win by building and designing products for the future. Talent is selected that can lead the way for the company to create more opportunities. The better the leadership and talent, the higher the chances of being successful.
The economic philosophy does not always work on the fan side of sports. Professional sport teams are a monopoly with a finite number of competitors, most often those teams that are winners are effective in recruiting and paying their players. The teams that spend the most or recruit the best are not a sure favorite to win but all teams are guaranteed the same media revenue. So why spend more if you can make the same amount being average? Or in the case of Bengals sometimes above and sometimes below… average.
As a fan I love the sport, the comradery the gamesmanship, now that my team has fallen below average and the owners does not take chances on making the team better, I feel cheated. When the owner refuses to invest in the player or the organization I worry they are only doing this for the money. Over the last twenty years the Bengals have failed to reinvest in the future, but they have made a profit. Their organizational goal does not seem to be about winning championships, it has been about the economics.
Sundays will always be fun but I will not be wearing my Bengal’s jersey.
#Benglas #Cincinnati #NFL #SportsFan
Dane Flanigan is a business consultant who helps companies build strategies to grow sales. www.DaneFlanigan.com