Paul Brown Stadium is a football stadium located in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is the home of the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League. It opened on August 19, 2000. Bucking a recent trend, the city decided against selling the naming rights of the new stadium to a large corporation and named it after coaching legend Paul Brown, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who founded not only the Bengals in 1966, but also the Cleveland Browns in 1946.
In 1996, Hamilton County voters passed a one-half percent sales tax increase to fund the building of two new facilities for both the Bengals and the Major League Baseball Cincinnati Reds. Previously, the Bengals and the Reds shared occupancy of Riverfront Stadium/Cinergy Field, but both teams complained that the aging multipurpose facility lacked modern amenities and other things necessary for small market teams to survive. Paul Brown Stadium was built first. After the Bengals moved into Paul Brown Stadium a large section of Cinergy Field was removed and the field was sodded with natural grass. The partial demolition was done to facilitate the construction of the Reds' Great American Ball Park.
Paul Brown Stadium is located on approximately 22 acres (89,000 m²) of land and has a listed capacity of 65,535. The Bengals are the sole tenant. They played their first regular season game in Paul Brown Stadium against their intrastate rivals, the Cleveland Browns; and the very first game ever in the facility was a pre-season game against the Chicago Bears.
Originally, the field was natural Kentucky Bluegrass, but problems arose in maintaining it. At one point, the field was rated as the third-worst field in the league by the NFL Players Association. Hamilton County, the owners of the stadium, explored other options and the revolutionary FieldTurf system won out. FieldTurf looks and feels like real grass, and since the field markings are actually sewn into the fabric, repainting between games is unnecessary. The reduced maintenance saves the county approximately $100,000 annually. Additionally, it opens Paul Brown Stadium to other uses without worry of damage to the turf. The FieldTurf was installed for the 2004 season.
Two high-definition video-equipped scoreboards at either endzone ensures that every fan has a good view of the on-field action.
Paul Brown Stadium also houses the Bengals' administrative offices and training facilities. In addition, there are three smaller practice fields nearby. Two are sodded with natural grass while the third is equipped with FieldTurf.
As a convenience for fans, for a nominal fee, several local busing companies offer round trip transportation to Paul Brown Stadium from designated locations throughout the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area. One such example is the Cincinnati Metro's Jungle-to-Jungle Express.
Shortly after the completion of the stadium, cost overruns led to Hamilton County filing a lawsuit against Los Angeles-based NBBJ, the architectural firm that designed and built Paul Brown Stadium. The suit was settled in October, 2004 for $14.25m.
On-site retail merchandise sales are available in the Bengals pro shop, located on the plaza level on the north end of the stadium.
Bengals' fans lovingly refer to Paul Brown Stadium as "The Jungle." This is a reference both to the natural habitat of the tiger as well as the Guns N' Roses song "Welcome to the Jungle" (from their Appetite for Destruction album). In 1988, the Bengals made their second trip to the Super Bowl, and during that season, the song, particularly the opening guitar riff, was played between plays. Fans informally began calling the old stadium "The Jungle", a practice which was carried over to Paul Brown Stadium. However, it was not until 2004 that the Bengals officially recognized the nickname and added a jungle motif and tiger stripes to the stadium's interior walls.
One interesting fact about Paul Brown Stadium is that it is the only "true horseshoe" in the NFL.
Also, every year in early April, in a very unusual use for a football stadium, a scholastic chess tournament is held in Paul Brown Stadium. This tournament usually attracts close to 700 competitors.