The Cincinnati Bengals achieved unexpected glory in 2021, bringing together the city of Cincy during a momentous run to the Super Bowl. But one does not merely become a respectable franchise overnight.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were the most winning NFL franchises — teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, for example, had to endure decades of mediocrity before getting their quarterback of the future and developing a sustainable model for success.
To the astonishment of the league, the Bengals overshot all expectations last season, and their Super Bowl window may be narrower than others given their relatively cheap roster. 2022 could be Cincy’s best chance to win a ring, but it could also forebode disappointment and the re-surfacing of the “bungling Bengals” identity.
The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan compared ticket prices across the league and named some of the priciest matchups: the Packers-Cowboys, Cowboys-Bucs, Chiefs-Bucs, Seahawks-Broncos.
In spite of last year’s Super Bowl appearance, the Bengals were not anywhere close to the top of the list and remain one of the franchises with the cheapest tickets.
Notably, the fifth cheapest are the AFC champion Bengals, according to TickPick, showing the years of disappointment in the Queen City are not easy to overcome. The average ticket price is $167.
Cincinnati Bengals have the fifth cheapest tickets in the league despite 2021 success
Those Bengals tickets are priced just 20 dollars more on average than those of the pitiful New York Jets, so Cincy hasn’t exactly earned a winning reputation this upcoming season.
It doesn’t help that the Bengals play in the ever-mercurial AFC North, a crowded divisional landscape that is almost impossible to predict. Cincy broke away from the pack last year, creaming all its rivals except for the Browns, but this season projects to be a much tougher battle for the crown.
The Ravens are back and healthier than ever led by a vengeful Lamar Jackson and star-studded secondary unit; the Browns will always be the Browns, but this year they have X-factor talent in quarterback Deshaun Watson; and the Steelers, though entering a rebuilding era, have the top-notch coaching and foundational roster pieces to make a splash.
Ticket prices are only one measurement of a franchise’s value, and the numbers will naturally fluctuate across all market platforms.
Still, these current prices offer a snapshot of what fans currently deem are the “prime” teams and matchups this season, and the Bengals, for all their 2021 glory, don’t make the cut.
Let’s not call the Cincinnati Bengals a dynasty — yet.