Friday, February 05, 2010

Leveraging the Lockout?

We all know by now about Hamilton County's stadium fund problem. I'm not even going to link to an article; anyone who cares is familiar with the issue. I'd love to write a post demanding that Leslie Ghiz, Chris Monzel, and Jim Tarbell offer their stadium fund solutions, but it'd be a waste of time: the current commission is going to have to find a fix before the November election. (Of course, should any of the candidates criticize the solution the commission adopts, that candidate should be prepared to offer his or her own specific alternative.)

I've been thinking that there ought to be a way for the county to use the possibility of a lockout in 2011 to its advantage. My first thought was that a lockout could mean low revenues for the Brown family, so maybe there'd be a way to defer some HamCo payments until 2011. But it turns out that the teams will make a killing on TV revenue regardless of whether games are played. So that's not the answer.

But here's another thought: if the owners lock the players out--that is, if the NFL decides not to have games (and it's not the result of a strike, but instead unilateral owner action)--would the county have an argument that the Bengals were in breach of the stadium lease? If that argument exists, then perhaps the county could agree to waive the right to declare a breach in 2011 in exchange for more meaningful concessions from the Bengals now.

I haven't read the lease (I can't find a copy online), so I'm not sure if this is viable. And since all of the commissioners are lawyers, and they have some really good lawyers working for them in the civil division of the prosecutor's office (in addition to outside counsel), I'm not sure anyone needs my input; it's just a random thought on a dreary Friday afternoon.

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