Paul Brown Stadium is set on the Cincinnati waterfront, just adjacent to their new Great
American Ballpark (what a terrific corporate name!). The two new stadiums wanchor a
whole new waterfront redevelopment which will include new retail, housing, parkland and
the National Underground Freedom Center, a world class museum celebrating the city's
role as a transit point for runaway slaves during the 19th century.

The stadium seats almost 66,000 and is unmistakably striking in its asymmetrical
architecture. Unlike Cinergy Field, you can enjoy sweeping views of the city scape from
almost anywhere in the building - whether it be the city skyline at one end or the river and
Covington Kentucky from the other. When we visited there was still plenty of road
construction going on around the stadium, but it was still easy to navigate, and plenty of
tailgating going on (though not in size and scope to that here in Buffalo).

Outside the stadium is a huge plaza area, and there was plenty of entertainment and events
going on outside.. also the Bengals set up concessions and points of sale outside the
stadium, as well as ample tables and chairs so fans could enjoy a pregame snack or a
beverage and just sit and enjoy the music and people watch. Being a sun drenched 60
degree day, we took opportunity to enjoy the ambience.

The bowl
Once inside we were impressed at the canyon wide concourses, the many ramps and
staircases and escalators to the upper level (named the "canopy level" yes there is a
canvas canopy covering a portion of the top stands). There are gigantic jumbotrons at each
end zone, with one of the jumbotrons being off center to add to the asymmetrical look. A
huge team store is located at the south end zone, and all concession stands have a
scrolling message board above it, although they seemed to be used for advertising only
and not for game/score information. On the sideline balconies were LED sideline boards,
displaying not only stats and information but crystal clear video graphics and cool
advertisements.

Retired numbers/banners
None at all displayed inside the bowl, but there are huge murals of past Bengals greats
along the sideline plaza level concourses.

Our one criticism of this venue was its lack of color - the entire building on the outside and
much of the inside is a drab gray or plaster/white, and the walls are screaming for some
colorful ads, banners, and team color black/orange accents. The building itself is so
beautiful, but there is a compelling need for a stadium interior designer to come in and
finish the job. From what we were told of the reputation of Bengals president Mike Brown,
he is not the most civic minded/fan friendly type, so that is not about to happen anytime
soon.

Things that caught our eye -
Send this one straight to the HR department - the team salutes employees of the month
with their names and photos on the jumbotron during a TV timeout. Season ticket holders
can nominate a particularly friendly usher, vendor, security guard etc. Apparently the staff
there really competes for this honor!

Already this new venue is a terrific football experience - with a little spit and polish,
completion of the waterfront plan and maybe a competitive team, this could be one of the
best venues in the NFL.

SCORING:
Architecture: 9
Food and team store 6
Scoreboard and electronics 8
Ushers 4
Fan support 5
Location and neighborhood 7.5
Banners and history 5
In game entertainment 5
Concourses/fan comfort 7.5
Bonus: Tailgate scene 2,  USRT assist 2, Jungle Zone 1
Total 62
Paul Brown Stadium
#56   




Paul Brown
Stadium   




Cincinnati,
Ohio    




November
5,
2000




Baltimore
Ravens
at Cincinnati
Bengals



return visits



September
19, 2004



Miami
Dolphins
at
Cincinnati
Bengals



September
18, 2005



Minnesota
Vikings
at
Cincinnati
Bengals