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Paul Brown Stadium

Cincinnati, OH

Home of the Cincinnati Bearcats



Paul Brown Stadium (map it)
1 Paul Brown Stadium
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Cincinnati Bearcats website

Paul Brown Stadium website

Year Opened: 2000

Capacity: 43,000

There are no tickets available at this time.


Local Information


A Year of Bearcats at Paul Brown Stadium

Football at the University of Cincinnati has been played at the site of Nippert Stadium for over 112 years with the actual stadium dating back to 1915. With that history, comes the periodic need to update a facility to ensure it’s on par with the modern state of college sports.

The school announced in 2013 that Nippert would undergo an $86 million renovation to add revenue-generating premium seating options as well as to improve the general game day experience. The 18-month project meant that the team would need to vacate the stadium for a season. Luckily for the Bearcats, having an NFL stadium just 10 minutes away from campus eases the disruption. The school and the Bengals have already had a working relationship, with major Bearcats games being held at the downtown stadium in previous years, so a deal was struck between the school and the Bengals to use Paul Brown Stadium for 2014 season.


What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    3

There's nothing wrong with the selection of food and drinks here, but the price increases when compared to Nippert may surprise UC fans not acquainted with Bengals games. For example, beer prices are a good $2-$3 dollars more, with offerings from the Miller/Coors portfolio along with some Sam Adams offerings.

The food options are much more varied than back on campus, but again, a bit more costly. Highlights include Gold Star chili, brats and metts, and LaRosas pizza.

Atmosphere    3

The school is doing all they can to transport the feel of Nippert to downtown Cincinnati. While there is nothing they can do to change the logos on the Fieldturf, there are a few Bearcat-specific decorations to make this seem like more of a home for the Bearcats.

Seating is limited to the lower bowl and the club seats on the second level, making the capacity about 43,000 for Bearcats games at Paul Brown Stadium. That number is still much higher than the 36,000 that would sell out Nippert Stadium. The fans have responded well to the temporary digs, showing up in near-capacity numbers for the initial games of 2014. Though, what fans gain in legroom and cupholders in this modern NFL stadium, you lose in energy. A packed Nippert Stadium feels cramped, but electric, while PBS is more comfortable.

Outside the gameplay, the school has put on a number of events to get fans engaged. There's a pre-game "Bearcats at the Banks" fanfest in the space between PBS and Great American Ball Park, featuring music, food and activities starting three hours before kickoff. At a recent game, the school set up a basketball court on the street and had a pep rally for UC's men's & women's hoops teams to welcome the start of their seasons. Afterwards, each game is being capped off by a fireworks show.

I did have a minor complaint about the in-stadium game experience. You'll notice in the pictures there's a giant inflatable Bearcat that overlooks the field. While this is one of the few ways UC gets to put their stamp on the stadium it's at the expense of one of the better standing areas. I'm not sure having this here is worth blocking off such a large amount of space, eliminating space for fans to socialize while still watching the game (Note: They have taken it down in cases of bad weather).

Neighborhood    4

The area between Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park continues to expand and improve. The remaining surface parking lots are being replaced by developments and will continue to offer fans options, pre and postgame. The Smale Riverfront Park also continues to grow and will provide the urban area with public space. When the Bearcats return to the stadium in the future, fans should expect to encounter even more of a full-fledged site.

Currently, there are great pre and postgame options like the sports bar Holy Grail, the live music-focused Tin Roof and the craft beer haven, the Moerlein Lager House.

Fans    4

So far, the school is seeing record student attendance and overall crowds north of Nippert's capacity during the temporary stay at Paul Brown Stadium. While UC does lack a history of hardcore tailgating, Bearcat fans are building those traditions now. The organized tailgates have found an easy transition to downtown since the area is already setup for the Bengals gameday atmosphere.

Access    4

Paul Brown Stadium is quite easy to get to, with both Interstate 75 and 71 offering easy access to downtown. Parking prices top out at $20 for The Banks area with most garages in downtown charging $15 or $10. The cheapest garage/shortest walk is $10 at the Whex Garage (212 W. 4th Street), just south of the convention center. Then, it's a 4-block walk down Elm Street to the stadium.

You can also opt to find street parking across the river in Covington. Just be aware of how late the meters run. Then it's a picturesque walk across the Roebling Suspension Bridge to the stadium.

Return on Investment    3

Tickets run from $54 for the center of the lower-level sidelines to $18 for the corners on the second level. Keep in mind, if you order your tickets from the Bearcats site, there's a ticket processing fee ($3 per seat to have your tickets emailed, $8 for postal mail/will call).

Food costs are a bit more than campus, as is parking, but in the latter case you can search for cheaper options to help ease your overall cost.

Extras    2

One point for the ease of transition to PBS. The willingness of the Bengals to work with the school allowed Nippert's renovation to go on unabated through the football season, speeding up the process. This alleviated the many inconveniences that could have occurred at a stadium in the middle of construction.

One point for the commitment of the student fans. While some schools are strategizing ways to keep student fans engaged, or to get out to games in the first place, UC seems to have avoided that predicament. Record student section crowds here bodes well for the return season at Nippert Stadium in 2015.

Final Thoughts

It's not Nippert, but it'll work for a season. It was really quite a fortunate situation that the school and the Bengals could work out a deal for this season while renovations are completed on campus. While PBS should remain an option whenever UC can lure "Power 5" conference opponents to town, the spiritual home of Cincinnati Bearcat football awaits on the UC campus.

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Local Food & Drink

Holy Grail Tavern & Grille  (map it!)

161 Joe Nuxhall Way

Cincinnati, OH 45202

(513) 621-2222


Tin Roof  (map it!)

160 E Freedom Way

Cincinnati, OH 45202

(513) 381-2176


Moerlein Lager House  (map it!)

115 Joe Nuxhall Way

Cincinnati, OH 45202

(513) 421-2337


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