Cincinnati Bengals Are Top-Ranked But Outdated Stadium Needs Help

Written By Frank Weber on May 16, 2022 - Last Updated on June 22, 2023
Bengals one of the best but stadium isn't

What an exciting time it is to be a Cinncinati Bengals fan. Not only do you have one of the most exciting young offenses in the league, but you’re fresh off a Super Bowl appearance that could have very easily gone your way.

While the Bengals surely rank towards the top of the league in offensive and defensive skills, there is one part of their franchise that lags behind the rest–their stadium. The city built Paul Brown Stadium just 22 years ago in 2000. However, the stadium, which is home to the Bengals is currently the 14th oldest stadium in the league.

Typically, a 22-year-old stadium is not old. But thanks to the current landscape of the NFL, stadiums seem to come and go faster than QBs.

“I don’t know what the Bengals are going to ask for … but remember we are part of a conversation that is happening all over the country related to other stadiums,” said Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus. “We’re cognizant of that. We have to be cognizant of that.”

The good news is Kentuckians living close to the Ohio border can easily head over and put down some action on the Bengals this year. The bad news is legal sports betting in Kentucky will likely not be an option for the foreseeable future.

The future of Paul Brown Stadium

When Paul Brown Stadium was first built in 2000, it was so highly marveled that it won an architectural award. And it immediately became an iconic member of the downtown Cincinnati skyline.

Today, however, the stadium is continuing to fall behind its peers as teams across the nation renovate their stadiums faster than Tom Brady comes out of retirement.

“The stadium has not had any major upgrades since its initial opening … Overall the amount of space and base infrastructure is adequate however the building and program need time, attention, and investment to bring the facility to its potential and begin to compare favorably with other modern NFL stadiums,’’ according to the report’s overview.

Which stadium renovations are being considered?

An outside firm ran a capital assessment on Paul Brown Stadium, and what a full renovation would entail. They found that more than $493 million is needed for renovations to the stadium. This would focus mostly on the structural integrity of the stadium:

  • Fixing the stair landings
  • Repainting the steel connections and frames
  • Replacing the light fixtures, etc.

This does not include the potential $200 million that would be needed for future upgrades such as:

  • Luxury Lounges
  • Easier Stadium Entry
  • Mega Suites
  • New Signs
  • Scoreboards
  • High-end food and drink

The most surprising part about all of this? The assessment found that the stadium is actually in good condition. So, county officials were relieved when they heard the staggering $493 million figure.

“The price tag did not seem unreasonable to me, at all … $500 million for just the basic upgrades to a functioning stadium, is about right,” Kevin Reichard, editor and publisher of Football Stadium Digest said. “I don’t think anyone in this process asked for anything radical in terms of upgrades, in terms of new fan amenities.”

The Bengals Director of Content, Seth Tanner, is excited about the prospects of stadium renovations and wants to introduce easier sports betting at the stadium in the future.

Will Kentuckians head to Ohio for sports betting?

The Bengals stadium renovation talks come at the same time as the Ohio Legislature is ironing out its final sports betting plans. Sports betting in Ohio should launch by Jan. 1, 2023, at the latest, so we’ll see sports betting at Paul Brown Stadium before we see any fancy new additions.

However, a new stadium mixed with an established sports betting market could make for an exciting future for the Cincinnati Bengals and its fans.

The licensing application period for Ohio-based sports betting operators opens on Jun. 1 — which is two weeks earlier than the initial application period which was set to be Jun. 15.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission will oversee Ohio sports betting. And, is currently in talks with Ohio State University over collegiate sports gambling limitations.

Those regulations will have to be fleshed out and submitted 60 days before launch. So we will have a better idea when sports betting will officially launch in Ohio once that occurs.

Had Kentucky legalized sports betting this year, the money Ohio will gain from traveling Kentuckians would have stayed in-state. At least Bengals fans from Kentucky may soon get a renovated stadium.

News Update: March 2023 witnessed the groundbreaking legalization of sports betting in Kentucky. Now, as the industry gears up for its official launch, you have the opportunity to gain access to an exclusive array of top KY sportsbook promos by simply clicking on the provided link.

Photo by Craig Burke/Shutterstock
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Frank Weber

Frank Weber is a US-based gambling writer with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. He loves baseball, football, basketball, soccer, and the UFC, and even collects sports cards and memorabilia in his spare time. In his free time, you could find Frank either out at a concert with friends, or at home sweating out all his bets.

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