The Cincinnati Bengals are yet another National Football League team thinking about moving to a new facility. Renovation of the current stadium is expected to cost nearly half a million dollars, so plans to build a new arena from scratch may not come as a surprise.
In late 1990s it was decided that Cincinnati’s Ohio River wharf will change dramatically. Existing Riverfront Stadium, though built only in 1970, was considered unsuitable for Bengals (NFL) and Reds (MLB), which prompted the decision to build two separate venues for American football and baseball. The football one was planned to the west, while baseball stadium to the east, partly in the place of Riverfront Stadium.
Bengals new home, Paul Brown Stadium, was the first one to get built, seeing construction begin in April 1998 and end in the summer of 2000. At that time it was one of the most modern and impressive stadiums across the US and beyond.
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Last season's National Football League finalists (losing in the final to the Los Angeles Rams), despite only playing in their current stadium for 22 years, decided that the next step for the franchise should be to move to a new venue. Before that happens, the Bengals wanted to analyze how much a potential upgrade to Paul Brown Stadium could cost. The results, however, are surprising.
$493 million over 20 years - that's how much money would have to be spent to bring the current facility to a state the club itself would be happy with. A study done by the team and Hamilton County analyzed the investment in 15 different categories, including improvements to car parks around the stadium and the food stands.
The investment will also be necessary from a sporting point of view. Despite a couple of weaker years (2017-2020), last year Bengals fans filled the stadium to the last seat in most games, and the team repaid the trust with a runner-up finish. In the new NFL season, which starts in October, the team from Cincinnati will be one of the favourites for the championship, so it is worth checking bookmaker's NFL bet of the day already now.
Potential renovations would be paid for by taxpayers, as would the eventual construction of a new facility. By the time the lease ends in 2026, the stadium will have cost them a total of more than $1 billion! However, Hamilton County officials have expressed hope that the tax burden can be reduced as changes are made.
Building a successor to Paul Brown Stadium won't come cheap either. Based on the fact that the Buffalo Bills will build a new venue for an estimated $1.4 billion while the Tennessee Titans will pay around $2 billion, the right decision needs to be made very soon.
Kevin Reichard, editor and publisher of Football Stadium Digest, believes it may be better in the long-term to replace the current arena with a new stadium, rather than investing in renovations and upgrades that may ultimately result in the same price tag. A new venue in Cincinnati would likely be
less flashy and more Midwest understated than Nashville, which translates to a lower price, Reichard said.