Sunday, January 12, 1997
Bengals sell 60 of 104 luxury boxes;
goal is 80% by April 30

BY DANA DiFILIPPO
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Sixty luxury boxes in the Cincinnati Bengals' new stadium have been claimed since they went on sale last month, a team spokesman announced Saturday.

With nearly four months left before the campaign's deadline, the team is three-quarters of the way toward meeting its goal, said Jeff Berding, Bengals' director of community affairs and manager of the suite sales campaign.

''The voters have spoken loudly that they want this project to go forward,'' Mr. Berding said, referring to last year's approved referendum of a half-cent sales tax hike to help finance two new stadiums. ''We're looking toward our fans now to do their part.''

Under Hamilton County's deal with the team, the Bengals must rent at least 80 percent of a planned 104 luxury boxes and sell 6,000 of a planned 7,500 club seats before April 30 or the deal is threatened.

Mr. Berding said one reassuring sign is so many boxes being sold to people or companies outside Greater Cincinnati, in such cities as Columbus, Dayton, Lexington and Louisville. That leaves plenty of businesses still untapped locally, he said.

''We have a pretty exciting stadium and a pretty exciting team to sell to fans,'' Mr. Berding said.

The 12-seat suites - available in six-, eight- and 10-year leases with annual price increases of 3 to 5 percent - range from $45,000 to $134,000, depending on how close they are to the 50-yard line. That price will cover the cost of tickets and parking, but not food.

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