Today the Bengals announce that the Club has entered into an agreement with Hamilton County that will help to pave the way for one of the most exciting events to happen on The Banks since the opening of Great American Ballpark — the attraction of a major presence of General Electric.
"We are grateful to the State, the County and the City for their hard work in attracting GE to Southwest Ohio," said Bengals president Mike Brown. "We wanted to demonstrate our interest in working together to ensure that The Banks is a viable location for this project. We all know that the Cincinnati area is a great place to live and work. Landing this project will let the nation know it as well."
In addition to working through several subjects relating to riverfront development guidelines, the County and Club were able to address several issues that both parties have been working on for quite a while — issues that will improve the Paul Brown Stadium experience for the hundreds of thousands of people who attend events there every year. All told, the Bengals will be contributing $6 million toward stadium projects and improvements.
"Quietly, we have been working with the County on a cooperative basis for several years," Brown said. "Today, with the announcement of our financial participation in several stadium upgrades, we are able to take that cooperation to a new level and put behind us matters that in the past might have turned into battles. These new improvements allow Paul Brown Stadium to remain an exciting place for local fans, and the Bengals are happy to contribute to getting them done."
Brown added, "We want to thank Commission President Chris Monzel, and Commissioners Greg Hartmann and Todd Portune. Their leadership in this effort made a real difference. We look forward to building upon this partnership, joining forces to serve the community’s long term interests. When we work together, the community comes out ahead."
While the most newsworthy aspect of this afternoon’s actions may be clearing the way for further development on the Banks, also included is the partnership between the County and the Bengals on several exciting improvements to PBS.
Most notably, the Bengals will contribute $2.5 million toward the installation of new video boards at PBS — to be installed by the 2015 season. Also, the County and Bengals will share in the cost of installation of stadium-wide Wi-Fi, to improve the ability of fans to use smart phones, starting as early as this coming season. On the Wi-Fi expansion, the Bengals initially will fund the total cost and allow the County to spread out partial repayment over several years.
Additionally, the Bengals will pick up entirely the approximately $1 million cost of new furniture in the Club Lounges, to maintain those spaces not only for Bengals games, but for the University of Cincinnati’s 2014 home football schedule at PBS and for high school proms, weddings and other events throughout the year.
The final Paul Brown Stadium improvement in the package will see the Bengals invest almost $2 million in improving team facilities at PBS. Included will be a new weight room, an expanded locker room and modified food service areas. This work will allow the team to accommodate the larger rosters that NFL teams now have, and it will keep the team space vibrant to attract and keep the talented players the team has developed. This work will be funded entirely by the Bengals, with no reimbursement from the County.
The agreement also allows the Bengals to participate in the NFL’s International Series games. Given the league’s growth overseas, the Bengals can now take the Cincinnati brand abroad on a periodic basis, consistent with the other teams in the league.